Friday, September 21, 2012
Editorial: The gift of an education
The Fralin Trust's $5 million gift to VWCC makes a huge difference.
From the RoundTable blog
Read the latest entries
The Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust announced Tuesday a $5 million endowment to Virginia Western Community College with the provision that it be used exclusively for scholarships.
The gift will have a tremendous impact on the ability of Roanoke Valley residents to obtain the education they need to qualify for jobs, and it will help businesses start and grow, knowing they will find the workforce here needed for success. Most of the scholarships will be awarded to students studying health care or one of the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, areas into which the local economy is moving quickly.
Tuition remains a barrier to higher education for families that cannot afford even Virginia Western's entry level price of about $1,600 a semester for a 12-credit course load. Some area school districts are doing an admirable task in securing donations and agreements with Virginia Western to cover the cost of tuition for recent high school graduates with ambitions richer than their finances.
But there are many adults of all ages with households of their own to support who find they lack the education and skills to secure better jobs and the means to obtain them.
The foundation's gift will touch many lives and provide a noticeable difference in the community's workforce, though more is needed. In announcing the gift, Heywood Fralin said, "It's important that others step up and fill the needs of the community college. It's what's in the best interest of the Roanoke Valley."
While few can match Fralin's millions, smaller donations add up to a big impact.