Virginia Western Community College announces the award of $50,000 in project grant funds to continue the Community College Access Program (CCAP) for Franklin County. Through CCAP, local high school graduates have the opportunity to go to college and earn an associate’s degree or career certificate at no cost. Administered by the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, and available in Salem City, Roanoke City and Franklin County, CCAP is serving more than 160 students in the current academic year.

“We truly appreciate the financial commitment members of our community are making to provide students in the service region access to higher education, and the chance to become strong assets to our area’s workforce,” said President Robert H. Sandel of Virginia Western Community College. “The Virginia Tobacco Commission joins an essential group of local governments, businesses, foundations and individuals who are committed to making college possible for our area students.”

CCAP supports as many students as possible based on student need and available funds. The program was launched in 2008 with the pilot phase in Salem and expanded to Roanoke City in 2009. In fall 2011, graduates of Franklin County High School began participating in CCAP.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, CCAP funded 39 Franklin County students to attend Virginia Western, but was not able to support all eligible applicants from the county. The Virginia Tobacco Commission grant guarantees that Virginia Western will be able to meet additional need in Franklin County for the 2012-2013 academic year. Students apply to CCAP in their senior year of high school, and must be a resident of a participating locality for at least two years prior to graduation. Roanoke City and Roanoke City Public Schools, as well as Salem City, are program sponsors for CCAP in the respective localities. Other sponsors include the Roanoke Women’s Foundation, Advance Auto Parts, Appalachian Power, Carilion Clinic, MFA, Ingersoll-Rand and Trane in Roanoke City; and LewisGale Regional Health System, Richfield Retirement and Quantum Medical in Salem City.

The Educational Foundation is seeking additional partners and funds to launch the program in the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt and Craig. A $7 million College Access Campaign is currently under way fund CCAP across the region.

“Virginia Western strives to give every local high school graduate access to a college education,” Sandel said. “Additional support from members in every locality of our service region will help the college continue educating and training tomorrow’s workforce.”