GRASP is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, charitable, college-access organization that assists students and families in obtaining funding for post-secondary education.

    GRASP helps students and their families, regardless of their financial resources and at no charge to them, develop an educational plan by:

    • Assisting them with the financial aid process;
    • Awarding and administering scholarships;
    • Inspiring them to believe that post-secondary education is attainable; and
    • Supporting them during the completion of their post-secondary education

    The goal of GRASP is to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity for continuing education after high school, regardless of financial or social circumstances. 

    GRASP advisors are placed at participating Virginia high schools. They are adept at navigating the college financial aid system and the processes required to make a post-secondary educational plan a reality.  Advisors work without charge to the students and their families primarily through individual in-school meetings. They also present financial aid seminars in libraries and other public forums. Advisors access institutional, federal, state and community resources.

    GRASP’s reach spans an increasing number of public and private schools in Virginia and is distinguished by its policy of channeling more than 50% of its resources to those who have significant financial challenges. Regardless of a family's circumstances, GRASP financial aid advisors help students overcome challenges to participating in the dream of an education after high school.

    To schedule an appointment with our GRASP advisor, please email fortdefiance@grasp4virginia.com or contact your school counselor. 

    Meet Our GRASP Advisor - Susan Arritt

    Susan Arritt is the GRASP advisor at Fort Defiance High School. Susan Arritt

    As a freelance author and editor of books, articles, and more, Susan Arritt has been educating people through the written word and in the classroom for nearly three decades. She has worked for a wide range of organizations around the globe. Susan also taught writing and communications for the Tuscany, Italy, summer program of the College of Santa Fe. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech and attended graduate school at Hawaii Pacific University.

    Susan has worked as a substitute teacher and tutor in public schools in Hawaii and Augusta County where she now lives with her teenage daughter. One of her great passions is encouraging students of all ages to follow their education, career, and life dreams.

    As a GRASP advisor, Susan draws upon her diverse professional experiences and an abundance of informational resources to help high school students plan for their post-secondary education and career goals.

     Click below for more resources.