Washington County offers top-notch education opportunities at all levels of learning including a variety of colleges.
Emory & Henry College
The oldest college in Southwest Virginia, Emory & Henry opened in 1836 and is a four-year institution focused on providing a transformative academic environment for its students. With an average enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, the school provides small classroom sizes and close working relationships among students and faculty.
“Students might think that because Emory & Henry is a private liberal arts college, it carries a high sticker price – but that’s not true,” says Dirk Moore, director of public relations at E&H. “Compared to other liberal arts colleges in Virginia and Tennessee, and given the financial aid packages we offer, Emory & Henry is incredibly reasonable.”
Included in the school's more than 25 programs of study are a high-tech mass communications program, a strong education program and interdisciplinary programs that allow students to combine classes from more than one discipline to create a more specialized major. One of its leading programs is public policy and community service, which Moore says is becoming increasingly popular across the country.
Virginia Highlands Community College
Also providing an array of classes to more than 3,500 students is Virginia Highlands Community College. Located along Interstate 81 at exit 14 on a 100-acre campus, VHCC is a two-year college that offers a number of programs for students who will ultimately transfer to a four-year institution. Founded in 1969, VHCC offers programs and services geared to directly meet the local community's needs.
One program is the Division of Workforce Training and Continuing Education, which was created in 1996 to better prepare students for the local workforce. The center offers retraining, job-specific and pre-employment training, and plays a large role in the area’s economic development efforts. VHCC's dual-enrollment program allows high school students an opportunity to earn college credit, and the Tobacco Outreach program provides tuition assistance for tobacco farmers and their families.
VHCC is also involved with more than 30 four-year institutions as part of its Guaranteed Admissions Program, which helps students prepare for their transfer process to a four-year college. The tuition at VHCC is about one-third the cost of attending a public university in Virginia, and each year the college provides more than $6 million in grants and scholarships to its students.
Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, which is located on the VHCC campus, opened in 1998 and partners with local colleges and universities to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs and professional development courses primarily for adult learners. The center has more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degree programs and more than 1,000 students.
In addition to providing educational offerings, the center is the go-to site for local business and industry for meetings and staff development. The center boasts a conference facility and auditorium, more than 25 classrooms, computer classrooms, Internet access, a science lab and more.
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