Helping students cross the finish line

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A North Carolina grant program provides emergency funding to keep students on track at college.

Transportation, rent, child care…these are just a few of the expenses that can prevent community college students from completing a program. Now, in North Carolina, another expense for some students: the effects of Hurricane Florence.

The hurricane caused nearly $17 billion in damages across the state. Last week, Gov. Roy Cooper visited Carteret Community College to assess the hurricane damage. He also announced that the state has awarded more than $1.8 million in Finish Line Grants to 30 community colleges. The grant program is aimed at helping students pay for transportation, housing, medical needs, dependent care or other financial emergencies that students face.

“Hurricane Florence was a huge blow to our state, causing unforeseen damages to families across the state, and the Finish Line Grants program is more important now than ever,” Gov. Cooper said. “This program will help students across the state and in hurricane affected areas finish their training and get a good paying job to support themselves and their families.”

The Finish Line Grants program were originally announced in August. The goal is to help students earn credentials and get into the workforce. In order to apply for funding, community colleges must partner with a workforce development board.

And now, that funding is critical, according to Carteret President John D. Hauser.

“Especially after Hurricane Florence, the Finish Line Grants program is imperative in helping these students achieve their educational goals,” Hauser said.

But these grants are just one initiative to help students and staff. Nearly immediately after the hurricane, many colleges got to work raising funds on their own.

At Craven Community College, more than 30 faculty and staff members lost vehicles and houses due to the inundation of floodwaters and high winds. The college’s foundation made available relief grants to directly aid faculty and staff in need and continues to raise funds for this emergency aid.

“It became evident very quickly that many in our Craven CC family were significantly impacted by Hurricane Florence,” Tanya Roberts, the foundation’s operations coordinator, said in a press release. “In spite of this, and true to form, they have all continued to be here for the college. The Foundation wanted to show all Craven staff and faculty that we are one and we are here to help.”

Craven also received a Finish Line Grant.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.