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FairfaxEducationPrivate colleges aim to expand partnership with community colleges

Private colleges aim to expand partnership with community colleges

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Among its other priorities for the coming year, a consortium of the commonwealth’s private colleges and universities plans to continue reaching out to students at the community-college level, aiming to bring them forward to earn baccalaureate degrees.

Partnering with Virginia’s community colleges through the Transfer Pathways initiative is “a perfect way to provide well-prepared students around the commonwealth with access to a degree from one of our outstanding private institutions,” the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges said in its recently released annual report.

Collaborative efforts such as the Transfer Pathways program “continue delivering a solid return on investment,” noted the annual report, signed by organization board chair Nancy Howell Agee and president Matthew Shank.

“We’ll also continue to work with organizations in the commonwealth, as well as in private industry, to improve opportunities for our students to move successfully from the classroom to the workplace,” Agee and Shank wrote, saying students needed a commitment from institutions of higher education that they are getting value for what they put in – financially and otherwise – to earn a degree.

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“What’s it worth? We can’t speak for other schools, but we can speak for the 16 schools in our consortium: A college degree from a VFIC school is immensely valuable,” the authors said. “We remain committed to securing scholarship funding for students who demonstrated financial need and academic promise. At the same time, we aim to capitalize on existing and new technology to improve the quality and reach of our programs.”
Between them, the 16 institutions currently enroll just under 31,000, with nearly two-thirds of undergraduate students eligible for needs-based aid.

Over the past year, the institutions comprising the association bestowed about 5,200 bachelor’s degrees, 1,400 master’s degrees, 600 doctoral degrees and 500 professional degrees.

Most of the colleges are located outside Northern Virginia, although Marymount University (formerly led by Shank) and Shenandoah University can be found in the local region. Other participating institutions include Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Mary Baldwin College, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon University, Roanoke College, Sweet Briar College, the University of Lynchburg, the University of Richmond, Virginia Union University, Virginia Wesleyan University and Washington and Lee University.

For additional information, see the Website at www.vfic.org.

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