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Cooper: Grant Program Helps NC Community College Students Stay On Track After Florence

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North Carolina community colleges have received $1.8 million in federal funding from a program geared to help complete their coursework and training, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a visit to Carteret Community College in Morehead City Tuesday.

The money distributed was part of the Finish Line Grants program launched by the state in July. The program uses $7 million in federal funds to help students pay for additional expenses like transportation, childcare or medical needs — circumstances that could be a barrier to completing their education.

Cooper said the program has helped, and will continue to provide aid to, students impacted by Hurricane Florence.

“Hurricane Florence was a gut punch to our state, causing unforeseen damages to families across the state, and the Finish Line Grants program is more important now than ever,” 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.”

Carteret County was one of the areas hit hardest by Florence and has been declared a disaster zone by FEMA. President of Carteret Community College John D. Hauser said the program is “instrumental” in helping students in the county impacted by the storm.

“Recently, we have identified students who need financial help in order to complete their degrees,” he said. “Especially after Hurricane Florence, the Finish Line Grants program is imperative in helping these students achieve their educational goals.”

Grant funding has been awarded to more than 30 community colleges across the state, including Central Piedmont Community College in the Charlotte area.  Community college and workforce development boards must apply for the funding to be eligible.

Attending students can apply for aid through their college’s financial aid office or their local NCWorks Career Center. Students may receive up to $1,000 in aid per semester.

President of the North Carolina Community College System Peter Hans said the grant helps students across the state, not just in Florence-devastated areas, “stay on track to finish their studies.”

“Many of our students are of modest means and often from first-generation college-going families,” Hans said. “This support provides them the opportunity to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.”