For Immediate Release:
December 19, 2022
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
Students experiencing food and housing insecurity and other needs will benefit from an $8,500 grant awarded to the Laurel Ridge Community College Educational Foundation by the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation.
The grant will support the college’s Single Stop initiative. Single Stop is a screener tool designed to connect students with assistance programs at the local, state and federal levels. Nearly 10,000 students in the Virginia Community College System have been connected with more than $21 million in benefits so far this year.
The importance of hooking up eligible students with available assistance was driven home by a recent report conducted by the University of Texas, Austin, that found 20 percent of community college students skipped or cut back on meals in the previous month due to a lack of money, and nearly one-third ran out of food during the month. Additionally, more than 25 percent of students couldn’t fully pay their rent or mortgage, with 28 percent being unable to fully pay their utility bills.
Laurel Ridge will use part of the funds from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to develop materials to help students participating in workforce programs gain access to college resources, including Single Stop and TimelyCare, a free 24/7 tele-mental health service. The funding will also help expand the college’s textbook lending library, and will bolster Laurel Ridge’s emergency aid capability for assisting students with urgent housing, transportation and child care needs.
“We know there is more to academic success than just classroom experiences,” said Dr. Caroline Wood, associate vice president of student services and academic support. “At Laurel Ridge, we strive to work holistically with our students in all areas to ensure they have the resources and support they need to be successful. Thanks to this generous grant from Anthem, our students will continue to receive the highest level of service from the college.”
The grant to Laurel Ridge is part of a $125,000 donation to 14 community colleges making up the “Rural Horseshoe” in Virginia. This horseshoe stretches from the Eastern Shore, to Southside and southwestern Virginia and up through the Shenandoah Valley. This rural arc of Virginia, while making up 75 percent of the state’s land, lags in income and education levels in comparison to the rest of the state.
Nationwide, the Anthem Foundation grant is part of a $30 million initiative spread across three years in support of programs designed to improve public health through nutrition.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.