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Record Enrollment At UNC System Schools PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Monday, 23 September 2019 08:37
More students are enrolled in the University of North Carolina System than ever before, according to final enrollment data for the Fall 2019 semester. 
The total enrollment across the UNC System is 239,987 – up 1.3 percent from last year’s previous record enrollment number of 236,993. Undergraduate enrollment is up 0.9 percent, while graduate enrollment increased by 2.6 percent. 
“At a time when attendance at other universities is declining, our enrollment continues to break records,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “These numbers suggest that our work is having an impact. We are delivering unparalleled education that is more affordable and more accessible to more people.”
A major factor contributing to record enrollment is improved student retention across the System. Moreover, the UNC System has benefited from two initiatives passed by the General Assembly in 2016 that significantly improve college affordability. The NC Promise Tuition Plan reduces in-state tuition to $500 per semester and out-of-state tuition to $2,500 per semester at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University and Western Carolina University. Likewise, the fixed tuition program ensures tuition costs will stay the same for North Carolina residents through four years of continuous enrollment at all other UNC System universities.
The number of incoming first-year students and transfers fell slightly, which coincides with a slowdown in the growth of high school graduating classes and a stronger job market. However, the data suggest stronger retention of students at UNC System institutions and other improvements that help students graduate in a timely fashion.
Southwestern Community College Demonstrates Benefits Of Job Traing Grants PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Friday, 13 September 2019 08:50

SYLVA Governor Roy Cooper visited Southwestern Community College in Sylva to learn about the impact the Finish Line Grants program is making in students’ progress toward good-paying jobs. Governor Cooper launched the Finish Line Grant program in 2018 to help students on the cusp of graduating deal with unexpected financial emergencies.

The Governor was joined by Southwestern Community College President Don Tomas and Southwestern Workforce Development Board Director David Garrett. Governor Cooper spoke with four students who have received Finish Line Grants to help them complete their training and enter the workforce.

“Businesses tell me their number-one need is a better-trained workforce. North Carolina’s community colleges can provide the training, but too often financial challenges mean students don’t finish their degree,” said Governor Cooper. “Finish Line Grants keep students on course, so that unexpected life expenses like car repairs or medical bills do not stand between these hardworking students and their career goals.”

Governor Cooper spoke with a group of Finish Line Grant recipients, including Abbie Turner, a Southwestern Community College student working to get her degree in Physical Therapy Assistance. A Mills River resident, Turner daily drives more than an hour one-way to Southwestern Community College. The wear on her tires from the commute—as well as unexpectedly high utility bills—made Turner seek out help from a Finish Line Grant.

“We’re a one-income family with two kids, so my husband and I don’t have a lot of margin for huge expenses like these while I’m working toward my degree,” said Turner. “Because of this Finish Line Grant, I have good tires on my car that will get me through the commutes to Sylva until I get my degree.”

Since launch of the Finish Line Grants program, Southwestern Workforce Development Board and Southwestern Community College have partnered to distribute Finish Line Grants to more than 100 students—the third highest number of grants distributed in the state, despite being ranked near the middle in number of students enrolled. Of the student who received Finish Line Grants, 97% either completed their training or are still enrolled and progressing toward completion, exceeding the college’s 64% retention rate.

“I’ve been around community colleges and higher education for a long time, but I’ve never seen any single program make this type of impact on retention numbers,” said Southwestern Community College President Don Tomas. “I want to thank Governor Cooper for his foresight in recognizing what a difference a program like this could make in the lives of our students as well as community colleges across the state.”

“Thanks to the Finish Line Grant program, behind every number reported, there is a story of success instead of failure because funds were available to help students overcome obstacles and achieve their goals in education. We are grateful to the Governor and for the collaborative partnerships that made this program possible,” said David Garrett, Workforce Development Director at the Southwestern Commission.

Finish Line Grants have been launched at all 58 community colleges across North Carolina, in partnership with each of the state’s workforce development boards. Since launch, more than 1,900 Finish Line Grants—totaling more than $1.3 million—have been distributed to community college students to help them complete their training.


Gaston College Hires Workforce Development Head PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 21 August 2019 09:29
DALLAS, NC – Dr. Justin Arnold has been hired as the new Associate Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development at Gaston College. He is responsible for managing Business and Industry Training, Continuing Education, and Human Resources Development. He started his new position on June 3, 2019.
Dr. Arnold has been involved in workforce development across a variety of sectors, including private industry, government, and community organizations. He believes that systems-thinking and cross-sector collaboration are the keys to success in workforce education. For most of his career, he lived in the state of Michigan. 
From 2002-2010, he served as the educational program manager for a nonprofit while working as a production lead in manufacturing. From 2010-2017, he completed three degrees while working in corporate training and volunteering as a city planning commissioner, nonprofit consultant, and Chamber board member. Most recently, from 2018-2019, he engaged in post-doc work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a workforce development specialist and extension faculty. 
Dr. Arnold received a PhD in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Workforce Development from Western Michigan University (2017), an MS in Career and Technical Education with a concentration in Corporate Training from Ferris State University (2013), and a BS in Public and Nonprofit Administration with a concentration in Economic Development from Grand Valley State University (2012).
“I’m excited to be a part of the Economic and Workforce Development division of Gaston College,” said Dr. Arnold. “The team of educational specialists I work with are amazing, and it feels good to be part of an optimistic and growing community. I look forward to contributing to the success of businesses and workers in Gaston and Lincoln counties.” 
UNC System Finds Money To Reimburse Tuition To School Of Science Math Grads PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 20 August 2019 08:37

The University of North Carolina System took action to ensure that graduates from the last two classes of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics will receive previously anticipated funding currently in flux due to the ongoing state budget stalemate.

NCSSM graduates have historically received full tuition reimbursement when they enroll in a UNC System institution. However, the budget delay has impacted the schools’ classes of 2018 and 2019. This year’s budget contains funding for the class of 2019, which is currently being treated as a credit by System Schools, butdoes notinclude funding for the class of 2018.

“This action will allow tuition payments to be made in a timely fashion and ensure that graduates of the classes of 2018 and 2019 receive the funds that they were promised,” said Alex Mitchell of the UNC Board of Governors. “These actions will help retain these highly-gifted students already enrolled in the UNC System.”

UNC System leaders have identified atemporary funding source for the approximately $1.1 million in funds promised to 176 students enrolled in institutions across the system. The UNC System will continue to work with the General Assembly on a bill that would replenish these funds.  

NCSSM Chancellor Todd Roberts credited theprogram for helping retain students in North Carolina, with the largest number of NCSSM graduates choosing UNC System schools upon graduation in over a decade. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2019 08:39

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