The Foundation awards scholarships to qualified persons to assist with the cost of attending Mountain Empire Community College. These awards are based on criteria such as financial need and academic promise, and are available to persons who are enrolled or intend to enroll in specific programs. Scholarship recipients are selected by the MECC Office of Financial Aid.
Most students attending MECC qualify for some form of financial assistance, and MECC scholarships typically “fill in the gaps” in federal and state student aid programs. To encourage students’ progress through their chosen academic programs, most scholarships are awarded in two installments to cover expenses in the fall and spring semesters.
MECC established the AIMS Higher Scholarship Program, with financial support from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, to encourage high school students within the MECC service region to complete a challenging curriculum and to pursue higher education. Students who graduate from high school and meet program criteria are eligible to receive scholarship assistance sufficient to complete an Associate’s Degree (up to 72 credit hours within 3 years), with no out of pocket costs for tuition and fees. The MECC Foundation supplements Tobacco Commission funding for the AIMS Higher Scholarship program each year in order to ensure that sufficient funding is available to serve all eligible high school graduates in the region that choose to attend MECC. To date, the program has served more than 1,100 students.
Student Emergency Assistance
The Student Emergency Assistance Program provides grants and loans to assist MECC students with financial emergencies that threaten their ability to remain in college. Student Emergency Assistance funds have assisted students with car repairs, utility bills, housing costs, healthcare expenses, and other needs. The MECC Foundation received grant funds from Scholarship America to begin the program, and continues to raise funds to address growing students needs over time.
College operating funds are insufficient to fund all of the academic and student supports needed. Giving to the MECC Foundation makes key student support programs possible, including tutoring and supplemental instruction, Career Coaches, and Great Expectations.
MECC students who do not qualify for tutoring services through MECC’s federally-supported Student Support Services (GAIN) program are eligible to receive free services as a result of financial support from the MECC Foundation. All students receive equal access to tutoring services through the generosity of MECC donors.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a peer-led supplementary class for Biology, Anatomy and Physiology. These challenging courses can derail a student’s progress toward a degree, particularly in health care majors. SI has proven successful in increasing course pass rates and semester-to-semester retention of participating students.
MECC Career Coaches reach out to all public high school students to help them with career exploration; post-secondary education planning; college admission and financial aid processes. The four Career Coaches that are funded by the MECC Foundation provide both general services (classroom presentations, convocations, etc.) and intensive services (creation of individual academic & career plans) to students at all public high schools in the MECC region. General services begin in the 9th grade, and move toward more intensive services as students progress through high school.
The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) provided seed funding to get the Career Coach program started several years ago, but the MECC Foundation provides financial support required for the program to continue.
The Great Expectations program serves current and former foster youth with coaching services and financial assistance to help them overcome barriers to higher education. The transition from high school to living independently is especially challenging for youth who have no family support or mentors to guide them. The Great Expectations Coach helps program participants address academic and financial challenges, while providing them with a stable support system.
With joint financial support from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education and the MECC Foundation, the Great Expectations program is providing youth the encouragement needed to persist at MECC. Click here for more information.
MAINTAINING THE MARGIN OF EXCELLENCE
Gifts to the MECC Foundation help to maintain MECC’s margin of excellence. Unrestricted gifts enable the Foundation to address the College’s most critical needs and flexibly respond to new opportunities.
This fund may be used to develop new programs, enhance existing programs with equipment, supplies, personnel, and professional development.