Virginia Western to host event offering financial aid application assistance

The Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA), in conjunction with Virginia Western Community College, will host a Super FAFSA Week event on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Webber Hall on the Virginia Western Campus.

Super FAFSA Week, formerly known as Super Saturday, is one of VASFAA’s annual service projects where individuals seeking funding for postsecondary education receive free, professional, one-on-one assistance in completing the federal financial aid form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the form used by colleges, universities, and career-technical schools across the country to determine eligibility for student federal and state financial aid.

VASFAA is offering over 50 Super FAFSA Week events at high schools, colleges, and community and civic centers across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Participating sites will have computers available for students and parents to apply for federal aid electronically, along with financial aid representatives to assist. This event is open to students and parents of all grade levels, including returning college students, as well as older adults interested in furthering their education.

Once the student leaves this event, he or she will have initiated the financial aid process for any college they are interested in attending. VASFAA understands that the financial aid process can be daunting and we hope that by offering this opportunity to students and parents, we can help ease this process for hundreds of Virginia residents.

As an incentive for attending a Super FAFSA Week event, students will have a chance to win a $100 book scholarship. A book scholarship will be awarded to one student at each Super FAFSA Week site to be used at the winner’s college of choice during the 2014-15 academic year.

Super FAFSA Week is open to the public and is partly funded by the College Access Challenge Grant Program. For more information about Super FAFSA Week 2014, please visit www.vasfaa.com/super.

Posted on January 27, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Virginia Western’s CCAP named finalist for national award

Virginia Western Community College has been named a finalist for the Community College Futures Assembly’s (CCFA) 2014 Bellwether Awards for its ground-breaking Community College Access Program (CCAP). The Bellwether Awards annually recognize trend-setting community colleges from across the nation.

In 2013, more than 400 Bellwether applications were submitted and Virginia Western was one of just 30 finalists chosen. Ten finalists were selected for each category: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance and Finance; and Workforce Development. Representatives from Virginia Western, the Virginia Western Educational Foundation and Roanoke City Public Schools will present CCAP for the Workforce Development category on Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla.

“To be nominated and selected as a finalist for this award is a great validation of the work Virginia Western and partner localities are doing with CCAP,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “By giving students in our region an opportunity to attend college without the barrier of cost is great for them personally, but also has a tremendous positive impact on our local workforce.”

The winners of the Bellwether Awards will be competitively chosen by a panel of national experts in each category. The Community College Futures Assembly will announce winners on Jan. 28 at its annual meeting in Orlando.

For the first time, CCAP served all of Virginia Western’s service region for the 2013-14 academic year. Graduating high school seniors from the localities of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin or Roanoke Counties or the Cities of Roanoke or Salem are eligible to attend Virginia Western for two years tuition-free ensuring they meet program requirements. Roanoke City Public Schools has been a partner in CCAP since 2009.

“It is the single biggest opportunity that I can ever recall for urban kids.  We’ve talked a lot about ‘brokers of hope’ because this program gives students hope and keeps them in school,” said Dr. Rita Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools. “CCAP launches lives and will do great things for the future of the Roanoke economy.”

Virginia Western will be holding public information sessions next week for students interested in CCAP.


Community College Access Program (CCAP) Information Sessions


6:30-8 p.m.


 Tuesday, January 21; Wednesday, January 22; Thursday, January 23


Whitman Theater, Virginia Western Campus (http://www.virginiawestern.edu/images/CampusMap2013_WEB.png)


These sessions will provide regional high school students graduating in 2014 the information to apply for CCAP for the 2014-15 academic year. The application deadline is February 28, 2014 and the application can be found online at: http://www.virginiawestern.edu/ccap/apply.php.

Participants in CCAP must maintain a 2.5 or 2.0 GPA, as defined per locality, maintain full-time enrollment, and complete eight hours of service learning per year. CCAP supports as many students as possible based on financial need and available funds. Applicants must have attended the high school in, and have been a resident of, the participating locality in which they are applying for at least two years prior to graduation. In 2013-14, more than 430 students participated in CCAP.

Posted on January 14, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Roanoke City Council names Virginia Western President Sandel Citizen of Year

Sandel Citizen of Year 1

The Roanoke City Council has named Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western Community College as its Citizen of the Year for 2013. Mayor David A. Bowers and City Council officially awarded the honor to Sandel at a ceremony during the grand reopening of Elmwood Park on Oct. 19.

“As someone who is not a Roanoke native, the ways in which people have been so continuously welcoming to my family and supportive of Virginia Western has truly made it home for me,” said Sandel, who has been a Roanoke City resident for 13 years. “I hope my impact upon the Roanoke Valley is to help make higher education more accessible and affordable to generations to come.”

Sandel follows Reverend Carl T. Tinsley Sr. as the Citizen of the Year, an award that has been handed out by City Council annually since 1981. The honor recognizes people who have given unselfishly of their time and energy to impact the community's quality of life.

“Bobby Sandel is very deserving of the selection by Roanoke City Council as the 2013 Citizen of the Year because he is a true ‘community’ leader,” said Bowers. “Not only is he the popular and revered President of our community college, Virginia Western, but Bobby is also a trusted and wise community advisor to the political and civic leadership of our entire Roanoke Valley community. I'm grateful for being able to call on Bobby Sandel for advice, but I'm even more proud to call him my friend.”

In a time of dwindling state resources, Sandel has made it a priority to provide Virginia Western students with the means for success. In 2012-13, the College took great strides to make college possible for any student. The Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust committed $5 million over five years to create an endowment for scholarships in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare (STEM-H). The Community College Access Program (CCAP), which provides a full two years of tuition to area high school graduates, went region-wide. Students from Botetourt County, Craig County, Franklin County, Roanoke City, Roanoke Count and the City of Salem are all now eligible to participate.

Additionally, Sandel oversaw extensive new construction at Virginia Western in 2012-13. The new Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions opened for classes in Fall 2013. The state-of-the-art facility features labs and equipment that will prepare students for the healthcare industry in the Roanoke Valley.

A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Sandel is a Roanoker at heart. He has been actively involved in the community, serving on numerous local and state boards including as chair of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Pre-K Committee for Smart Beginnings and president of the Board of Trustees for the LewisGale Medical Center. He has served as the chair for the VCCS Achieve 2015 Strategic Planning process for the entire 23-college system.

“In my time in Roanoke, I have seen first-hand the passion residents have for education,” Sandel said. “In my opinion, providing educational opportunities is the greatest thing we can do as a community to enhance quality of life for individuals as well as to create a robust local economy. I feel that my work at Virginia Western has been a strong part of doing just that.”

Sandel earned his bachelor’s degree from The Citadel, his master’s degree from South Carolina State University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining Virginia Western, he was president of Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap and he has been a community college educator for more than 30 years.

Sandel’s wife, Jane, is also an educator, recently retired from teaching at Salem High School. They have four children and 10 grandchildren together.

Posted on October 30, 2013 in Campus News | Permalink

Virginia Western dedicates Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions

Fralin Center dedication speakers (2)Virginia Western Community College officially dedicated the Horace G. and Ann H. Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions on Wednesday evening at an on-campus ceremony. Speakers at the dedication included Governor Robert McDonnell, Heywood Fralin, Chancellor Glenn DuBois of Virginia’s Community Colleges, Virginia Western President Robert Sandel, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger and University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, among others.

“It is with extreme gratitude to the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and its co-trustees, Heywood and William Fralin, that we dedicate this state-of-the-art facility to Horace and Ann Fralin,” Dr. Sandel said. “Their legacies of supporting higher education in Virginia will forever live on and they will continue to create positive change in the lives of students and impact the vitality of this region’s economy.”

In August 2012, the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust committed $5 million over five years to create an endowment at the College for scholarships, primarily dedicated to the areas of science, technology, mathematics and healthcare (STEM-H). The Fralin Center, which opened for classes on Aug. 21, 2013, is the new home to the College’s healthcare and science programs.

“Prior to my brother’s death, he set up the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and advised me of his desires,” said Heywood Fralin, co-trustee. “He wanted to improve the quality of life for all of the citizens of the Roanoke Valley and he wanted the Trust to make contributions that would make a significant difference in those lives.”

“The Trust’s $5 million grant for scholarships clearly fits both criteria. And it’s not just the individual assistance that the scholarship recipients receive that are beneficial, but just as importantly, it is the economic benefit that all citizens of the Roanoke Valley will have as a result of the educated workforce that will be created with a focus on the STEM-H areas.”

Featuring cutting-edge labs, clinics and technology, the Fralin Center is home to a wide array of programs including nursing, practical nursing, dental hygiene, radiography, radiation oncology, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, health and wellness, and more.                                                                                                 

The donation from the Fralin Charitable Trust was the largest ever made to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation, nearly doubling its assets. It was also the largest donation dedicated to scholarships in the history of the Virginia Community College System.

“I don’t wish for people to think the $5 million donation is sufficient to meet all our area’s needs. We have a community college in place and we have a great building here that can handle many students, but we need to triple the Trust gift and we need to do it soon,” Heywood Fralin said. “We determine our own destiny when it comes to increasing our economy and our standard of living. We can do this, and I ask that we all step forward to help make Virginia Western the best community college in Virginia. It needs your service and it needs your contribution.”

Posted on October 24, 2013 in Campus News | Permalink

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