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This article was originally published on 06/11/2013. Information and links within may no longer be applicable.

Foundation for Roanoke Valley continues support for ESL classes at Virginia Western

The continuing support of a Foundation for Roanoke Valley grant will mean that more non-native residents will have access to and can afford English classes at Virginia Western Community College to build rewarding careers.

The Katherine Nelson Fishburn Foundation Fund is providing $1,000 to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation to reduce tuition costs for area students taking the English as a Second Language (ESL) class. The college’s ESL class has helped students from more than 35 different countries learn language skills and become successful members of the Roanoke community.

“Non-native residents are an integral part of the Roanoke community, but some have difficulty prospering because of a lack of language skills,” said Elizabeth Wilmer, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “The Foundation for Roanoke Valley understands this challenge and is helping Virginia Western make ESL classes affordable to those who need them the most.”

The ESL class is offered as a non-credit course at a fixed rate of $85 per semester to reduce the cost to students, many of whom would normally pay the out-of-state tuition rate of $654.38 for a two-hour credit course. Funding to offset the cost of student tuition is provided by student fees and private sources. State General Fund tax dollars are not used for the program.

As the Roanoke Valley’s limited English proficiency (LEP) population continues to grow, the class teaches students basic conversational English, basic grammar and writing skills, and social and cultural literacy skills. It also prepares individuals for employment or for becoming a future Virginia Western student.

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