RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Community College System have received a $3.5 million award from the Mellon Foundation for a program that supports students transferring to VCU.

The award gives the Mellon Pathways to the Arts and Humanities Program funding through 2025 and will be split between VCU and VCCS. $1,517,000 will go to VCU and $1,983,000 will go to VCCS. With the additional funding, the program will be able to take on more students looking to transfer to VCU.

“We are excited to continue our partnership on the Mellon Pathways Program and build upon the strong history of collaboration between VCU and the Virginia Community College System,” said Deborah Noble-Triplett, Ph.D., senior vice provost for academic affairs at VCU. “This award will ensure the program remains strong and provides important continuity for our Mellon Pathways Program students as we welcome our first cohort to VCU.”

The program started in 2018 at J. Sergeant Reynolds and Brightpoint (known as John Tyler at the time) Community Colleges following an initial grant of $2.3 million from the Mellon Foundation. The program provides resources to Richmond-area community college students while they go through the long and arduous process of transferring to a four-year institution. Access to funding and scholarships for transfer students is also part of the program.

“One of the things we learned through the Mellon Pathways Program is that faculty collaboration and intentional student learning and engagement activities facilitate the transfer experience for students,” said Sharon Morrissey, Ed.D., senior vice chancellor for academic and workforce programs at VCCS and co-principal investigator for the grant. “The continued funding will allow us to build on the retention and completion successes at the community colleges and to examine four-year outcomes, such as on-time graduation at VCU.”