Free Money For College?

Contact an Advisor to Learn More

What do you mean by “free college”?

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and various initiatives currently being deployed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, we are in a very unique and historic position to offer free funding to students beyond the typical grants, scholarships and other financial aid.

This is free money to pay for college. It’s not a loan, and doesn’t have to be paid back.

These initiatives are meant to strengthen Virginia’s workforce in key areas while offering the means to Virginia residents who wish to straighten their career paths, bolster their skills, or increase their earning potential.

Submit the contact form above to speak with an Advisor about taking advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Or scroll down if you’d like to learn more about this amazing opportunity for a no-cost education that fits your schedule.

Some of the Programs Eligible for Funding

Click on any program for more detailed information.

Culinary Arts/Hospitality

Early Childhood Education

Associate of Applied Science Degrees (2 years or more to complete)

Information Technology

Associate of Applied Science Degrees (2 years or more to complete)

FastForward Programs (1 Semester or less to complete)

Public Safety

Associate of Applied Science Degrees (2 years or more to complete)


Didn’t see the program you’re looking for? We offer many more degree, certificate and credential programs that are eligible for funding. Check out our Programs & Training page to see them all.

Take action today while this opportunity is still available.

Contact an Advisor to Learn More

Would you like to read more?

Read through the FAQs for detailed information about one of the many available programs. If you don’t qualify for this program specifically, don’t worry, we have more. Complete the form and one of our Advisors will help you find
free money for college.

What is the G3 Program?

The G3 Program is a tuition assistance 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 designated programs leading to jobs in high-demand fields.

Who is eligible for the G3 Program?

Any Virginia resident who:

  • Qualifies for in-state tuition,
  • Has a total household income of less than or equal to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (roughly an income of $100,000 for a family of four),
  • Is enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours in a Virginia community college,
  • Is enrolled in a designated G3 program, and
  • Has applied for federal and/or state financial aid programs.

What are the designated programs?

The designated 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.

A complete list of the eligible G3 programs available at Virginia Western is featured above.

Each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges has a list of approved G3 programs in the five targeted career areas. The programs are designed to be “stackable,” meaning that each program starts with skills training that leads to a certificate with immediate value in the labor market. Because the certificate is part of an associate degree, a working student can continue to “stack” additional certificates on on the pathway to an associate degree.

How does tuition assistance work?

G3 Program funds make up the difference between what federal or state financial aid pays for and the cost of tuition, fees, and books for the program. This means that an individual enrolling in a certificate or degree program must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for the program. An individual enrolling in a designated short-term credential (FastForward) program must provide documentation of household income or eligibility for federal assistance programs.

Does a student have to enroll full-time?

The G3 Program will be available for full- and part-time students. A part-time student must enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester or in an approved short-term (FastForward) program.

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.

Is there a time limit for eligibility?

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 out 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.

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.

Are the programs geared more towards two-year associate degrees or shorter-term workforce programs?

Both. An important benefit of the G3 Program is that it recognizes the different pathways to success depending on a person’s individual needs and circumstances. For some people, a short-term 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.

How will the G3 Program benefit Virginia?

The G3 Program will provide financial incentives for eligible individuals who need to upgrade their skills or who lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and prepare them for high-demand, high-value jobs.

According to data from the Virginia Community College System, folks who complete these programs gain 60% in wages on average and double the amount of state taxes they pay.

Employers will benefit from having a larger qualified talent pool to fill high-demand jobs in the Commonwealth.

When does G3 start?

The G3 program goes into effect on July 1, 2021. Interested individuals may begin the enrollment process at their local community college in April 2021.

How does someone apply for G3?

Information about how to apply will be available on your local Virginia community college website, starting in April 2021.

See the “How do I take advantage of this opportunity?” section above for the enrollment process, and submit the Contact an Advisor form at the top of this page. An advisor will be in touch to discuss how G3 can benefit you.

You’re still here?

Whether you’re looking for an associates degree, a career studies certificate or an industry credential, we have the funds to cover those final costs that may be keeping you from taking that next step in your life and career.

Submit this form to talk with an Advisor about free college.