Martinsville Bulletin: January deadline for NCI remains firm, Harvest officials say

Martinsville Bulletin: January deadline for NCI remains firm, Harvest officials say

December 17, 2016

MARTINSVILLE – The Harvest Foundation remains firm in its Jan. 31 deadline for the New College Institute (NCI) to figure out how it will operate in the future, according to foundation officials.

If NCI decides not to evolve into a college or university that grants four-year degrees, or at least part of an existing one, the institute will lose its access to about $26.3 million remaining from a $50 million “challenge grant” that Harvest pledged to the state in 2004 to encourage it to establish a baccalaureate degree-granting school in the Martinsville-Henry County area, foundation officials maintain.

NCI was established 10 years ago as part of that effort. Funded by the state and Harvest, the institute currently provides local access to certain bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered by various universities statewide. For the most part, the degrees are ones which have been determined needed to qualify people to fill job vacancies that area employers have found hard to fill.

Also, the institute provides training and professional development programs designed to be responsive to needs of area businesses and industries.

The institute is exploring the possibility of developing a deeper relationship with Longwood University, one of its partners from the beginning. What that relationship would be like has not yet been determined. Officials have said that NCI would not become a branch campus of Longwood although it could become something similar.

“We continue to explore and evaluate our options” for the future, said NCI Executive Director Leanna Blevins. “I want to work with NCI’s board in establishing that direction as soon as possible.”

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