The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education

Great Expectations

Fostering Powerful Change

The Great Expectations program began in 2008 with a generous challenge grant from the Fried family. The program, which began by serving students in five colleges, now reaches the lives of foster youth in 23 of Virginia’s community colleges. As of 2018, the Great Expectations program has served over 3,000 foster youth and now celebrates the graduation of more than 100 program participants per year.

Great Expectations logo

Addressing College Graduation Rates

Imagine if your family wasn’t there at all. Your odds of graduating college would only be about 8 percent. Great Expectations is changing outcomes with a nationally recognized program currently available at all 23 of Virginia’s community colleges, graduating students in the program at  23 percent. It helps Virginians with experience in foster care complete high school, access a community college education, and transition from the foster care system to independent living.

The program connects students with coaches who meet them where they are—in high school, or aging out of foster care—and become a dependable support system when planning for the future. Students’ skills, values, and interests help shape the team’s goals, and the program helps students beat the odds year after year.

Student and mentor

Personal Support & Guidance

One of the ways Great Expectations helps to position students for success is with the personal support of campus coaches. Having a single point of contact and guidance is the most critical link in helping you to achieve your educational goals. The program provides:

  • Individualized Tutoring
  • Help Applying For College Admission And Financial Aid Career Exploration And Coaching
  • Help Applying For And Keeping A Job
  • Life Skills Training, Including Managing Finances
  • Personalized Mentoring
Instructor and student having a meeting

Program Impact

$5.4M in annual economic and social costs saved

3x increase in graduation rates for Great Expectations students

This transformative program was created through the philanthropic generosity of Barbara and the late Mark Fried.

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