Ferrum College to offer free tuition to qualifying in-state students

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 8:12 PM EDT
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FERRUM, Va. (WDBJ) - The President of Ferrum College says the school is returning to its roots with a bold initiative: free tuition for qualifying in-state students.

Dr. Mirta Martin announced ‘Panther Promise’ to an eager audience of students and staff Wednesday morning.

“Ladies and gentlemen, today we make history. Today we open the doors,” Martin said during her remarks.

Current and incoming in-state students will be eligible for the program. It’s based on a family’s financial need, and Martin estimates close to half the current student body could qualify.

At a time when many families are struggling to pay for higher education, she said the program will take Ferrum College back to its roots.

“110 years ago, Ferrum College was founded as a college of opportunity, a college that welcomed to its campus students who had ability, intellect and the drive to succeed, but didn’t think college was accessible to them,” Martin said in an interview. “So today, we go back to our roots. We go back to our heritage.”

The brief announcement brought a standing ovation and praise from current students.

“Just having the opportunity to provide that to somebody and give them a higher education, I think is amazing,” said senior Conner Sides.

“I think it’s going to do crazy things for Ferrum. I think it’s going to pull more and more students in. I think the population here is going to get bigger,” said junior Aubrey Billings.

Ferrum will also offer a new $4,500 scholarship for out-of-state students who qualify.

Currently there are 800 students at Ferrum. Martin said she hopes that number will grow as Panther Promise and other initiatives encourage more people to consider what Ferrum College has to offer.