G3 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the G3 Program?
G3 is a new initiative, proposed by Governor Northam, that invests in making community college more affordable for eligible Virginians who enroll in certain programs that lead to jobs in high-demand career fields.
Who is eligible for the G3 Program?
G3 is a last-dollar program for any Virginia resident who qualifies for in-state tuition and whose family income falls below an identified threshold. Eligible students may enroll in programs leading to FastForward short-term credentials, career studies certificates or associate degrees.
To be eligible for G3, an applicant must:
- Be eligible for Virginia in-state tuition.
- As proposed in the Governor’s budget, receive a total household income less than or equal to four hundred percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This is roughly an income of $100,000 for a family of four.
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a Virginia public community college and in an approved program.
- Be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours per semester.
- Have applied for federal and state financial aid programs for which they may be eligible.
In order to remain eligible for the G3 Program, a student must:
- Demonstrate progress to complete an associate degree in three years.
- Maintain a 2.0 grade point average and make satisfactory academic progress.
What does “last-dollar” mean?
A student enrolling in a certificate or degree program must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for the program. G3 funds make up the difference between what financial aid pays for and the cost of tuition, fees and books for the program.
A student enrolling in a FastForward short-term credential program must provide documentation of household income or eligibility for federal assistance programs. For eligible students, G3 funds would pay the student’s out-of-pocket tuition costs.
What are the eligible programs?
The eligible programs fall into five targeted career areas that are in high demand in Virginia: Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, Early Childhood Education, and Public Safety.
Virginia’s community colleges have partnered with employers to transform eligible programs to put skills first and allow students to earn completion certificates as they move through their training. This means that a student who has to step out after earning a certificate will still have a credential with immediate value in the labor market. Because the certificate is part of an associate degree, the student can get a job and return later to continue on the pathway to an associate degree.
Does a student have to enroll full-time?
The G3 Program will be available for full- and part-time students. To be eligible, a student must enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester or a FastForward program. However, the goal of G3 is to accelerate program completion and employment in a high-demand occupation. To incentivize full-time enrollment, the G3 Program will provide additional financial assistance to students who qualify for full Federal Pell Grants and enroll full-time (12 or more credit hours in fall and spring semesters and 6 credit hours in summer). This additional assistance is intended to reduce the number of part-time hours a student has to work so that he or she can spend more time studying.
Are the programs geared more towards two-year associate degrees or shorter term workforce programs?
Both. An important benefit of G3 is that it recognizes the different pathways to success depending on a person’s individual needs and circumstances. For some people, a short-term FastForward credential or certificate program is the best fit. Others may need a year-long program, and for some a two-year associate degree may be the best fit. What is very important is that each shorter term program is part of an associate degree pathway, so people can always come back and build on skills and programs already attained.
Is there a timeline for eligibility? Can a student who stops out re-enroll later and still be eligible for G3?
As long as a G3-eligible student continues in the same program pathway, he or she has up to three years to complete an associate degree.
A student who completes a certificate and stops to work will still be eligible for G3 if he or she returns within one year. After returning, the student will have two years to complete the associate degree.
What is the return on investment for Virginia?
Those who complete these programs gain 60% in wages on average and double the amount of state taxes they pay.
How does someone apply for G3?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434.961.6581.
Will G3 negatively impact enrollments in Virginia’s four-year colleges and universities?
Since the G3 program targets students enrolled in non-transfer applied science certificate and degree programs that are designed to prepare students for the workforce, the impact on four-year college and university enrollments should be minimal.
Private colleges and universities receive a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) to support enrollments of in-state students. The Governor’s proposed budget includes a significant increase in TAG funding for private institutions. If approved, eligible students at Virginia’s private colleges and universities will receive an additional $600 in TAG per year (from $3,400 to $4,000 annually). There is no income threshold for TAG, so unlike G3, it is a benefit to Virginia families regardless of income.
How many students might benefit from the G3 program?
Based on historic enrollments in programs aligned with the identified career areas, the projected number of students who might be eligible for the G3 program is 39,160.