A partnership between University Studies and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid has resulted in HUB Scholarship Mentoring, a program that provides support for scholarship students through one-on-one meetings with HUB mentors and access to online enrichment modules that offer guidance and support related to the requirements of their scholarship.

“The HUB,” as students refer to it, was implemented in fall 2020 and has 550 students participating in the first cohort. Each student enters the program during their first semester at Virginia Tech and remains part of the program as long as they maintain their renewable scholarships. They are required to maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and earn at least 30 credits per year.

As part of the program, HUB students are receiving a variety of support through scholarships such as the Breaking Boundaries Scholarship, the College Access Collaborative, the Provost Achievement Scholarship, and the VT Scholars. Virginia Tech is awarding over $2 million in scholarships to the HUB students during the 2020-21 academic year.

“The HUB scholarship mentoring program is another important resource for students to have at their disposal,” said Banks Blair, associate director of University Studies and coordinator of the HUB. “HUB mentors work with students to help them understand the importance of maintaining their scholarship funding, while also building supportive relationships that will hopefully last the entire time they are at Virginia Tech. HUB students seem to appreciate knowing they have another caring person in their corner to help them when they need it most.”

Blair describes the HUB as a hybrid between academic advising and financial aid counseling. Each semester, students must meet with their HUB mentor at least once to discuss how they frame success and can work on broad goals.

“In discussions about student success, students can talk about anything from making three new friends, joining a club, or practicing wellness to achieving a successful GPA. Mentoring conversations go beyond just academics because success can be affected by so many variables,” says HUB mentor Zack Underwood.

Beyond meeting with their mentors, HUB students must complete three online Canvas modules to help them achieve more from their time at Virginia Tech. Since all HUB students are currently first-semester students, the enrichment modules were developed to align with how they progress through their first semester at Virginia Tech. Assessments help students prepare for first-semester situations through reflections, small assignments and setting goals. With the goal of helping students continue the program throughout their four or five years at Virginia Tech, the enrichment modules are updated each semester to keep them connected to key developmental opportunities in their academic careers.

As part of a broad and inclusive scholarship program, the HUB is aligned with other access and opportunity efforts such as the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP), the Student Success Center, and Pamplin's Undergraduate Mentoring Programs (PUMP). All offer similar services for students with the leads for each scholarship mentoring program meeting monthly to discuss best practices and how to collaborate on future initiatives.

The HUB scholarship mentoring program directly aligns with enrollment management goals for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and Enrollment Management. Virginia Tech strives to increase access and affordability for qualifying students, regardless of socioeconomic status. HUB mentors are excited to see the many ways HUB students will achieve greatness while renewing their scholarships each year.

Written by Chenaye Blankenship