Northam signs legislation creating tuition-free community college for low, middle-income students

Governor Northam signed legislation to create the "Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back"...
Governor Northam signed legislation to create the "Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back" initiative during a ceremony at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College.(Jack Mayer | Office of Governor Northam)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WHSV) — Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 2204 and Senate Bill 1405 on Monday, creating the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” (G3) program, which makes tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields.

The G3 program includes $36 million to cover tuition, fees, and books and provide support for eligible students at the commonwealth’s two-year public institutions.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the initiative targets industries such as health care, information technology, manufacturing and skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education.

Students who qualify for a full federal Pell grant and enroll full-time will receive student-support initiative grants, in an amount up to $900 and up to $450 per summer term, on a semester basis.

Participating institutions will receive a performance payment for every eligible student receiving a student-support incentive grant that successfully completes 30 credit hours, and an additional performance payment when the student earns an associate degree.

Initial eligibility for the G3 program is determined through the submission of applications for federal and state student financial aid, including the FAFSA.

“Building an equitable and inclusive economy is more important than ever as we emerge from this pandemic,” said Governor Northam in the release. “The G3 program will connect thousands of Virginians with the skills, training, and resources they need to secure jobs in high-demand fields and support themselves and their families—all without being forced to shoulder mountains of student debt. Tuition-free community college was one of the key issues I ran on during my campaign for governor, and I am thrilled to be delivering on that promise.”

To read the full press release from the governor’s office about the G3 program, click here.

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