Sandhills Community College will now make it possible for Moore and Hoke County residents who graduate from a public or private high school, or registered home school to attend the college tuition-free. The program, Sandhills Promise, was recently approved and is endorsed by the Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees.
“Sandhills is embarking on a mission to help fulfill the dreams of young people that they would otherwise not be able to attain,” said Germaine Elkins, executive director of the SCC Foundation. “By fostering the ambitions of our recent high school graduates, we are doing something extraordinary for these students and our community.
To qualify for Sandhills Promise for fall semester 2017, current high school seniors, who are residents of Moore or Hoke County, will be required to successfully complete two College and Career Promise (CCP) classes at SCC with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Current high school juniors and all students to follow will be required to complete at least four CCP classes at SCC prior to high school graduation. Upon successful graduation from high school, SCC will agree to cover tuition costs at the in-state rate for two years, which begins the fall semester after high school graduation and ends following the summer semester of the second year. The program is available to students enrolling as degree-seeking, curriculum students.
Students must first utilize all other financial aid sources including federal, state and SCC scholarship aid, and Sandhills Promise will then cover any unmet tuition costs at the in-state rate. A completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an SCC scholarship application will be required annually.
Sandhills Promise is Sorely Needed
With flat or decreasing family incomes, parents are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to cover the entire cost of postsecondary education for their children, even if they have been saving for years or investing in the NC 529 Plan and the student is holding down a job.
According to affordableschools.net, over the past three decades, college tuition has increased 1,120 percent and in the past 10 years it has increased three times as fast as the consumer-price index and twice as fast as the cost of medical care.
The average debt for a college graduate earning a bachelor’s degree, two-thirds of all recent alumni, has tripled in the past two decades, now topping $35,000. Student debt across the nation is over $1.2 trillion.
Allowing students to graduate college debt-free will free them up to proceed with major life events such as taking a job in their field, buying a home, getting married or having children.
The state of Tennessee began a scholarship program in 2014 that ensures all recent high school graduates can attend state community colleges without paying tuition or fees. A similar program is in effect in Kentucky. Legislation has been introduced in three northeastern states for such programs, but neither North Carolina nor any nearby east coast state has such a program.
For Hoke County residents, the college will host an information session on September 27 at 6 p.m. in the Turlington School Auditorium. The college will host an information session for Moore County residents on September 29 at 6 p.m. in Owens Auditorium on the SCC campus. High school students, parents and community members are invited to attend and learn more about Sandhills Promise. For questions regarding the Sandhills Promise, contact Jonathan Garrison at 910-695-3726.
Funding Sandhills Promise
The first few years of Sandhills Promise will be funded by unrestricted scholarship monies held by the Foundation, which will begin raising additional funds for the program over the next few years. Knowing that an educated populace is valuable to a community, business and industry participation is anticipated, as is an increase in individual giving. To learn more about helping fund the program, please contact Germaine Elkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 695-3706.