Previous Page  25 / 32 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 25 / 32 Next Page
Page Background







, S









Chief Executive Officer

Funeral Celebrant

1771 North Parham Road

Richmond, Virginia 23229

Phone: (804) 545-7251

You’ve seen the numbers; you’ve heard the reports: Americans are

more burdened by student loan debt than ever before. In fact, seven out

of 10 college students have accrued debt at an average of more than

$30,000 by graduation for a total of more than $1.4 trillion nationwide.

InVirginia, six out of 10 college students graduate with debt, owing

an average of about $28,000 each. More than one million Virginia

residents owe a combined $30 billion in college loans. It’s no wonder

that amidst those harsh realities student debt has emerged as a prominent

political issue, discussed often a year ago on the national scene by

presidential candidates and the point of numerous bills introduced in the

recent Virginia legislative session. In fact, Virginia lawmakers proposed

nine student loan bills designed to provide relief and to protect students

from overwhelming debt loads. All nine bills failed.

With the debt numbers climbing and no immediate relief in sight,

Bluefield College, a private Christian liberal arts college in southwest

Virginia is taking its own action to ease the debt burden for college

graduates. Bluefield is taking a more generous approach to the awarding

of its financial aid and offering a unique half-price tuition program to

students who can least afford higher education.

“The national discourse on higher education has been centered

on concerns over the rising level of student debt, the rising costs of

education, and whether the average American family can afford a

college education,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive.

“So we’re responding with ways to help those who are desperately in

need of an education to better their lives, but have little means to obtain

their dreams.”

For example, two years ago Bluefield launched a Pathways half-

price tuition plan to “provide a ‘pathway’ to quality higher education

for students from the lowest socio-economic level,” said Dr. Olive. The

plan in essence cut tuition in half for students who qualify for the federal

Pell grant and live at home within 45 miles of the school. It also allowed

these students to attend Bluefield with little to no direct out-of-pocket

impact on their families.

“Due to stagnate and in some cases declining family income,

students and their families from our region are struggling to afford a

college education,” said Dr. Olive, “but through the Pathways initiative

we are doing all that we can to remain accessible to the students who can

least afford the expense of a college education.”

Thanks to Pathways, students in the program are projected to

graduate with much less debt than the average college student. For

example, students who qualify for the maximum Pell award and live

in Virginia and qualify for the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant could

graduate with as little as $20,000 in debt, which is much lower than

the $28,000 average for Virginia college graduates and the more than

$30,000 national average.

“Bluefield College recognizes there are families that desire a

college education for their sons and daughters, yet they struggle to meet

the financial obstacles,” said Dr. Olive. “We want to make our quality

higher education more affordable and accessible to those families and

students. I can’t imagine a better way to live out our Christian mission in

serving the ‘least of these’ who live in our surrounding communities.”

In addition, Bluefield is making an intentional effort to secure more

institutional aid for its students and to award more financial aid dollars

to an even greater number of students. In fact, 98 percent of Bluefield

College students receive some form of financial aid, and the college

awards an average of $12,000—more than half its annual tuition

cost—to its students. The result of all these efforts: a college nationally

recognized for its value and affordability and an average student debt

load significantly lower than that of the average Virginia college

graduate. At Bluefield, students overall are leaving with just more than

an average of $22,000 in debt, compared to the $28,000 average for

Virginia college graduates.

“As legislators, we have made many efforts to make higher

education more accessible at our state institutions,” saidWill Morefield,

a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 3rd

district in southwest Virginia. “It’s exciting to see a private institution

doing the same, because education is the key to our success. We’re

seeing a mass exodus of our young people in this area, and (Bluefield

College) gives them the opportunity to get a quality education from a

traditional university right here at home.”

And Morefield is not the only one recognizing Bluefield’s efforts.

The college was just recently named among the top 50 Christian colleges

in America for graduating students with low debt burden by Christian

Universities Online, among the most affordable online colleges in

America by College Choice, and among the nation’s best values by



magazine. And value and affordability are not the school’s

only distinctions as this past fall

U.S. News and World Report


Bluefield among its Top 50 Colleges in the South, the State Council

for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) ranked Bluefield graduates

among the highest earners in the state in its Wages Report for the

Virginia Longitudinal Data System,

Virginia Living

magazine named

Bluefield one of the top colleges inVirginia, and the American Council

of Trustees and Alumni designated Bluefield as one of just 22 colleges

nationwide to receive an “A” rating for quality core curriculum.

“Perhaps more than ever before, education is key to enabling upward

mobility in the workforce and producing an informed and engaged

citizen,” said Dr. Olive. “We are working hard to ensure students and

their families have access to an affordable, values-driven education, and

we will continue to do so in an effort to impact and transform as many

lives as possible.”

Bluefield College Takes Action to Ease Student Load Debt

In Service




Virginia Officials

and their Military Service

View Online: