Grundy, VA (April 4, 2017) – The second installment in a $6 million loan benefiting the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy was presented today at the law school by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.
The second installment amount was for $1 million, bringing the total presented to $5 million of the $6 million funding package approved in 2016 by VCEDA to benefit the law school. The funds were presented to the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority by VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher, who also serves as general counsel to the authority. The IDA will disburse the funds to ASL.
“We were pleased to be able to further assist the Appalachian School of Law in this project aimed at job retention and job creation,” Belcher said. “We presented $4 million last March with additional funding contingent upon the law school meeting additional enrollment and performance criteria. We are happy to say they surpassed their performance criteria to obtain the $1 million this year.”
“We are grateful for the continued support of VCEDA and the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority in helping us to continue our mission at ASL—‘to provide opportunity for people from Appalachia and beyond to realize their dreams of practicing law and bettering their communities,’” said ASL Dean Sandy McGlothlin. “We are proud of all of our students and graduates, many of whom return to small rural communities to provide legal services and community support in underserved areas. Without the assistance of VCEDA, the IDA, and others in our region, these dreams would not be realized and many individuals would have to navigate the legal system without proper representation.”
Jay Rife, chairman of the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority, noted Buchanan County identified education as one of the economic development sectors it wanted to pursue many years ago.
“In fact, ASL was the first education endeavor we pursued,” Rife said. “The IDA is pleased to be able to continue to support the law school. Dean McGlothlin and her staff deserve a lot of credit for the successes the law school has experienced in the past year. They have done a fantastic job and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
One of the parameters which had to be met to access the added $1 million in VCEDA funding made available Tuesday was tied to enrollment. McGlothlin noted there had been an increase of 20 percent in new student applications for the 2017-18 school year and a 60 percent uptick in seat deposits already realized for the same period. In January, the law school added 21 students to its enrollment numbers – seven new students to its inaugural spring start program and 14 new transfer students.
The final $1 million installment in the original $6 million allocated to benefit ASL is expected to be awarded next year at this time, provided the law school meets additional performance criteria.
“VCEDA has been a long-time supporter of the Appalachian School of Law,” Belcher said. “We felt it was, and is, an important piece of the economic development picture in Buchanan County. VCEDA’s support of the project dates back to 1996 when the idea to build a law school in Grundy first emerged. Now, more than 20 years later, the school continues to meet the needs of those seeking to further their education and to earn a law degree and at the same time, it continues to enhance the community and to provide jobs.”