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 Opening our DOORS

Valley Scholars

PRESIDENT ALGER CHALLENGED JMU with a striking new vision in 2014: become the national model for the engaged university, engaged with ideas and with the world — especially in our own backyard. So he initiated Valley Scholars to create opportunities for people whose real, everyday struggles drive distressing statistics on local poverty rates and first-generation college students.

When you invest in this growing program, you join the president in a personal passion project designed to create pathways to college where none existed before.


Who are our Valley Scholars students? They are 188 extraordinary middle and high school students from 25 neighboring public schools, primarily in rural areas.

  • 100 percent can become the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree.
  • Without this program, they would be less likely to attend college, largely because of a lack of academic preparation and other barriers associated with economic hardship.
  • 96 percent are in honors programs, take Advanced Placement classes, or are dual-enrolled in high school and community college.
  • 100 percent have demonstrated financial need: all qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, and 72% receive Medicaid benefits.

 What do they receive?

  • Starting in the eighth grade and continuing through high school graduation, students and their families receive comprehensive academic programming and personal support in school, out of school, and throughout the summer.
  • Students who fulfill all the requirements receive four-year scholarships to JMU, covering tuition and fees — opening doors so they can pursue majors anywhere on campus.


Be part of a core group of caring donors whose commitment to unleashing academic and personal potential rivals that of our Valley Scholars students. The first cohort of Valley Scholars freshmen will enroll at JMU in the fall of 2019, eager to begin classes at the university that dared them to dream. Your investment will help close the opportunity gap and support them not only in starting but in finishing a college degree, becoming the first in their families to do so.


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Understand the impact you make when you give to Valley Scholars

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