The NCLBC shall exercise unified political power for the betterment of people of color and consequently, all North Carolinians.

New ‘finish line’ grants to help community college students graduate

July 13th, 2018

— Community college students with unforeseen expenses near the end of their studies will be eligible for $1,000 grants to help them graduate, Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday.

Cooper said the state will set aside $7 million in federal funding for the program, which he first proposed months ago as part of his state budget plan.

Students in good academic standing who are at least 75 percent done with their degree can apply for up to $1,000 a semester to cover car repairs, medical bills, child care and a range of other expenses that might crop up. The idea is to keep these costs from derailing people’s education.

Cooper said the program is modeled on grassroots programs that have popped up on campuses, where professors and others help cover expenses for students afraid they’ll have to choose between a car repair, for example, and tuition.

“A car repair should not determine your future,” the governor said during an announcement at Wake Technical Community College.

The program should be up and running next semester, he said, and the goal will be to get grants out the door within 72 hours. The money will go directly to the hospital, the mechanic’s shop or other creditor instead of to the student, he said.

The program will be optional for community colleges, which will work with their local workforce development boards to set up procedures, he said.

Cooper initially wanted $20 million for the program, and he would have included university students as well. He put the program and $40 million in new job training money in his budget proposal earlier this year, but the General Assembly didn’t include the funding in the final state budget.

Once the program is set up, students can contact their local financial aid offices to apply, he said.

There are more than 700,000 community college students in the North Carolina system.

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