RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – On Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia has received a federal GEAR UP grant of $ 24.7 million to improve access to higher education and vocational training for students of the Commonwealth.
“All students deserve to have access to a world-class education, and financial aid plays a critical role in achieving this,” Governor Northam said. “Virginia’s commitment to higher education and skills training is why we are currently the best state in the country for doing business, and why businesses from around the world continue to flow to our Commonwealth. “
The seven-year grant is expected to allow the State Board of Higher Education of Virginia to launch a state-wide college access initiative that helps ensure students don’t miss out on financial aid federal.
Northam made the announcement at a FAFSA Completion Task Force meeting. The group was formed in March 2021 when Northam set a long-term goal for every eligible student in Virginia to complete a FAFSA application every year.
Currently, the Commonwealth has a completion rate of 52.7%, which ranks it 26th nationally for FAFSA completion.
Data from 2018 shows that about 15,000 high school students in Virginia who would have been eligible for Pell grants did not complete the FAFSA, which is more than $ 58 million in federal aid that students left on the table.
“Research indicates that people with a university degree have higher lifetime incomes, are healthier, enjoy more job security and are more engaged in their community,” the secretary said. Education Atif Qarni. “Higher education cultivates talents to support our 21st Workforce of the Century – I am proud of the work Virginia has done and will continue to do to invest in wrap-around supports, increase FAFSA completion rates, reduce achievement gaps, and improve graduation.
FAFSA form opens October 1st every year. For more information or to complete the request, click on here.