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James Madison University and Blue Ridge Community College announce joint program

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - As many students grow aware and weary of student debt, schools are finding ways to make college more attainable and affordable.

James Madison University and Blue Ridge Community college announced a collaboration on a new program which will lower costs for some students. “Bridge to Madison” will help students who didn’t gain acceptance to JMU under traditional standards.

Alger and Downey proudly represent partner schools in the new "Bridge to Madison" program on...
Alger and Downey proudly represent partner schools in the new "Bridge to Madison" program on Monday, July 26 at BRCC.(WHSV)

Those students will be able to live at JMU while taking BRCC classes. The integration into a college setting, school officials said, will help them acclimate after a year of community college.

Officials said in a press release the arrangement will lower costs and provide academic support for students in the program. Students who successfully complete the program will be able to attend JMU full-time their sophomore year.

“They will, at JMU, have access to student activities and organizations as well as living and interacting with other students,” said Dr. Jonathan Alger, President of JMU. Alger said this program will help students see what the university is like before enrolling at JMU.

“Our students do as well as the students who are native to JMU because of the support services we give them and the support services they get as transfer students,” said Dr. John Downey, President of BRCC. Downey said he’s happy to extend the partnership between the two schools.

Dr. Alger and Dr. Downey sign the agreement, enacting Bridge to Madison on Monday, July 26 at...
Dr. Alger and Dr. Downey sign the agreement, enacting Bridge to Madison on Monday, July 26 at BRCC.(WHSV)

“80% of our transfer students choose James Madison University, so it’s a strong partnership, strong relationship that benefits those students and the community,” said Downey.

“There are so many students who just need a little extra boost or a little extra help to be able to be successful at a place like James Madison University,” said Alger.

Downey said the commonwealth has pushed for two-year and four-year schools to collaborate more heavily and said JMU and BRCC will be a model for any future programs. Officials said Bridge to Madison is one of only a few of its kind in Virginia.

They said Fall 2022 will be the first year of the program, and that they’ll accept 50 students at first. The number might change in subsequent years, they said.

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