BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – In the past 20 years, the price of earning a college degree at a public or private institution has gone up by more than 50%.
Many students face hardships struggling to afford the rising tuition costs while trying to avoid the burden of student loans.
But at Bluefield College, they offer the Pathways program to local students. According to Scott Polhamus, it cuts the cost of tuition nearly in half.
“College is always going to be expensive, it’s always going to be something that families have to decide on what makes sense for them,” Polhamus said. “Knowing that this region is in great need of high quality education, we’re able to offer students half-price tuition.”
The program started in 2014 as a way to make higher education more accessible to locals. The idea is to keep local students here as they earn their degree, and help support the overall region in the long-run.
The pathways program is available to any student in the region who qualifies for the federal Pell Grant, lives at home and attends a school district within a 45 mile radius of Bluefield College.
Qualifying West Virginia counties include McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming. Qualifying Virginia counties include Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wythe.
All students, new, transfer or returning can apply for the Pathways program through Bluefield College.