Virginia’s Leading Independent Higher Ed Advocates Unite To Launch a Landmark Marketing Campaign





Wednesday, February 1, 2024   

Christopher K. Peace,
Carthan Currin
Locke Ogens,


New Initiative Championed by Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, and Commonwealth Alliance of Rural Colleges to Highlight the Accessibility and Affordability of Virginia’s accredited private nonprofit colleges and universities

Richmond, VA — The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges (CARC), and Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) have recently collaborated to produce an integrated marketing initiative branded as the Virginia Alliance for Private College Education (the Alliance) and focused on the significance of the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). This groundbreaking effort aims to enhance the visibility and accessibility of Virginia’s private colleges and universities. The Alliance is thrilled to announce a February 1, 2024 launch of a comprehensive public service television, radio, and social media ad campaign deployed by Williams Whittle Associates, Inc. (WW), a full-service independent advertising agency with a team that specializes in nonprofit marketing.

Virginia is renowned for its comprehensive higher education system, which includes a robust network of public universities, community, and technical colleges, and a distinguished collection of private colleges and universities. The state’s 29 accredited private nonprofit colleges and universities are committed to providing an intimate, personalized educational experience. However, the affordability challenge often looms large for prospective students and their families.

“As Chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, it is exciting to see this collaboration across organizations to advance a positive message about private college education in Virginia. This effort will remind the public that everyone can get a great education at an affordable price,” said Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, President of the University of Lynchburg and a board member of the VFIC.

The Alliance conceived a public service campaign that encapsulates the message: “With a Virginia private college degree, no ambition is out of reach.” This initiative aims to debunk the myth of inaccessibility and highlight the surprising affordability of private education in Virginia.

VTAG is a substantial initiative by the Commonwealth, offering a $5,000 grant to in-state residents attending a private college within Virginia. The campaign’s primary advertisement, “ Texting,” will spotlight VTAG and its role in making private college education more attainable.

The public service announcement will debut in February and continue throughout the year. Its objective is to disseminate information about the VTAG program and address the perceived affordability barrier of private education.

“The VTAG program is a student-centered program critical to helping Virginia students attend high- quality higher education in the state and close to home. Often, this award is the deciding factor for a student going to college. VTAG helps more students afford a private college education. As a board member of the Commonwealth Alliance of Rural Colleges, I am proud to be part of this important effort,” said Dr. Tiffany Franks, President of Averett University.

Virginia’s accredited nonprofit private institutions, including renowned universities, specialty law, nursing, and pharmacy institutions, collectively offer diverse and rich educational experiences. The full list of participating institutions is available on the Alliance website:

The Alliance’s initiative represents a significant step towards making quality private education in Virginia more visible and accessible. We invite students, families, and education stakeholders to join us in this exciting journey toward academic excellence, accessibility, and affordability.

For more information about the Virginia Alliance for Private College Education and our member institutions, please visit our website ( or YouTube channel (

Media Contact

Christopher K. Peace, Esq.