JMU program offers free tuition for select Valley students

Published: May. 2, 2016 at 5:38 AM EDT
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A program at James Madison University is working to help first generation middle and high school students afford college.

A full time student at James Madison University would pay more than $10,000 in tuition per year at JMU but the Valley Scholars program erases that number.

The two year old program accepts students who may be first generation college students and allows them to attend JMU for free. The program starts in 8th grade and students must complete the program's expectations by graduation.

"Free college, I'd say that's easily the biggest reason (I applied) and the fact that it brings students from all across the county, not just my school but there's about five or so different high schools and a bunch of different middle schools and I love meeting new people," said Noah Buracker, a 9th grader at Broadway High School.

Noah says he wants to study politics and potentially become president.

"I didn't know that I would maybe have trouble getting into college but thanks to this program I wont and I can just go to college for free if I just work really hard," said Joshua Morris, a 9th grader from Stonewall Jackson High School.

There are about 16 schools across the valley that work with "Valley Scholars" and 40 JMU student mentors to help the students accomplish their goals.