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**Landmark Campaign Unites Top Higher Education Advocates in Virginia**

The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges (CARC), and Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) have recently joined forces to create a unified marketing campaign known as the Virginia Alliance for Private College Education (the Alliance). This collaborative effort focuses on promoting the importance of the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) with the goal of increasing the exposure and availability of Virginia’s private colleges and universities. The Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive public service advertising campaign across television, radio, and social media on February 1, 2024. This initiative is being executed by Williams Whittle Associates, Inc. (WW), a reputable independent advertising agency specializing in nonprofit marketing.

Virginia is recognized for its extensive higher education system, encompassing public universities, community colleges, technical institutions, and a distinguished array of private colleges and universities. The state is home to 29 accredited private nonprofit colleges and universities that are dedicated to providing a personalized and engaging educational environment. Despite the quality of education offered, the affordability challenge remains a significant concern for prospective students and their families.

Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, President of the University of Lynchburg and Chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, expressed enthusiasm for the collaborative effort, emphasizing the positive message it conveys about private college education in Virginia. She highlighted the goal of making quality education affordable and accessible to all individuals.

The Alliance has developed a public service campaign centered around the theme: “With a Virginia private college degree, no ambition is out of reach.” This campaign aims to dispel the misconception of inaccessibility and showcase the affordability of private education in Virginia.

Central to this initiative is the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG), a significant program offered by the Commonwealth that provides a $5,000 grant to Virginia residents attending private colleges within the state. The primary advertisement of the campaign, titled “Texting,” will shine a spotlight on VTAG and its role in increasing the accessibility of private college education.

The public service announcement is scheduled to launch in February and will run throughout the year. Its primary objective is to raise awareness about the VTAG program and address the perceived financial barrier associated with private education.

Dr. Tiffany Franks, President of Averett University and a board member of the Commonwealth Alliance of Rural Colleges, emphasized the importance of the VTAG program in enabling Virginia students to pursue higher education locally. She highlighted how VTAG plays a crucial role in making private college education more affordable and accessible to a broader student population.

Virginia’s accredited nonprofit private institutions, which include prestigious universities and specialized institutions in law, nursing, and pharmacy, collectively offer a diverse and enriching educational experience. A comprehensive list of participating institutions can be found on the Alliance website at

The Alliance’s initiative marks a significant stride towards increasing the visibility and accessibility of quality private education in Virginia. Students, families, and education stakeholders are encouraged to participate in this journey towards academic excellence, accessibility, and affordability.