McDowell Technical Community College announced today that it will remain tuition-free until 2023. Thanks to the college’s Learn and Grow Scholarship Program, full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment for the 2021-2022 academic year is up approximately 25%.
“We are dedicated to finding equitable solutions that provide college access for all,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President. “One of our primary goals is to expand learning opportunities and remove barriers to enrollment. Our Learn & Grow Scholarship continues to open doors for those in our county and region who are the first in their families to attend college, or those who need to upskill, earn a promotion, or find a career with a living wage.”
The MTCC Learn and Grow Scholarship Program is a last-dollar scholarship program that leverages a variety of federal and state financial aid assistance, pandemic relief grants, institutional grants and scholarships made possible by generous supporters and friends of the college. For example, North Carolina residents who graduated from high school in 2021, or will graduate in 2022, are eligible for free tuition as a result of Longleaf Commitment Grants offered by the state of North Carolina, if the student’s family income falls under limits established by the program.
Students who participate in the Learn and Grow Scholarship Program must complete federal financial aid forms to determine their eligibility for federal and state aid and enroll in at least 6 credit hours per semester, or take eligible short-term training programs that lead to workforce credentials. Interested students should follow the step-by-step directions at www.mcdowelltech.edu/learnandgrow/.
“We are fortunate that our stewardship of federal and state grant funds has allowed us to extend our tuition-free offer through 2023,” said Lisa Byrd, Director of Financial Aid at MTCC. “In many cases, we have even been able to help students with child care fees, books, lab supplies and similar needs with our scholarship funds, and we anticipate that we will continue to be able to do this on a limited basis through next year.”
The program is flexible and allows students who were home-schooled, as well as those who received adult high school diplomas and GED’s, to participate in the tuition-free program. In addition to degree programs, eligible students may choose workforce training programs that lead to credentials in Basic Law Enforcement Training, Construction Trades, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Healthcare Billing and Coding, Industrial Maintenance, Machining Fundamentals, Nurse Aide I (8-week), Paramedic/EMT and Phlebotomy. Work-based learning programs are also available in several areas, offering students with who need additional support for their families the chance to earn part-time salaries while they complete their degree or short-term training.
“Historically, community college students are often forced to make tough choices. Do I pay my tuition, keep my lights on, or choose to feed my family this month? We are confident this program is an equity solution that contributes to economic vitality for our county and region” said Merritt. “We will continue to search for ways to extend our Learn and Grow Scholarship Program and tuition-free commitment through 2023 and beyond. Programs like these break down barriers and provide a means to upward mobility and supports our industry partners with a skilled workforce.”