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New Longleaf Commitment program will help make SCC more affordable for students

Most students will find Stanly Community College more affordable with the announcement recently of the new Longleaf Commitment by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Using federal COVID-19 aid, Cooper is providing $31.5 million so high school seniors from low- and middle-income families can get “at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

As long as students meet basic eligibility requirements for the program — they graduated from high school in 2021, are state residents and first-time college students and plan to enroll in at least 6 credit hours per semester, among others —they are guaranteed to receive anywhere from $700 to $2,800 per year, for a total of two years. The Longleaf Commitment Grant Program ends at the conclusion of the 2023 spring semester.

“We are excited about it,” said Carmen Nunalee, vice president of strategy and performance at SCC. “Anytime we can offer additional scholarships for our students, that’s a good thing.”

Students who receive financial aid for the upcoming school year can also receive aid for the following year, Nunalee said. Longleaf is a grant program meaning students will not have to repay what they receive.

Prospective SCC students have to apply for admission, complete residency determination and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and then SCC will handle it from there.

“It would certainly be to every student’s advantage that they can basically get their first two years of college education tuition free,” Nunalee said. “It’s a fantastic deal.”

Another $12.5 million in flexible funding, for a new program called Longleaf Complete, will help “college students whose education has been interrupted during the pandemic complete their degrees,” according to the governor’s press release. This funding can be used by UNC System students, North Carolina community college students, or students at independent colleges and universities to help them complete their degree.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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