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

Virginia News

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation creating his signature, “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative — known as the G3 program, which allows students who come from low and middle incomes the chance to attend community college tuition-free.

The G3 program is meant to bring students who may not otherwise be able to afford college a chance to pursue jobs in high-demand fields.

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

House Bill 2204 and Senate Bill 1405 establish and fund the G3 program passed in the House and Senate with broad support from both parties.

“Building an equitable and inclusive economy is more important than ever as we emerge from this pandemic. 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.”

Gov. Ralph Northam

This initiative targets key industries including health care, information technology and computer science, manufacturing and skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.

On average, students in these high-demand degree programs increase their wages by 60 percent upon competing the program and double their individual state tax contributions.

The G3 program is one of the first in the nation providing financial support to students at the lowest income levels.

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

For information about how to enroll in the G3 program, individuals are encouraged to reach out to their local community college.

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