Special to Iredell Free News
The Finish Line Grants program has issued more than 3,000 grants and $2 million since the program was announced in July 2018.
The Finish Line Grants program helps students stay on track to complete their degree or credential when they face unexpected financial emergencies that might otherwise cause them to drop out.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced the $2 million milestone at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, joined by CPCC President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, CharlotteWorks President and CEO Danielle Frazier, and several Finish Line Grants recipients.
“As students at our community colleges work hard to get skills that will help them find a job, an unforeseen challenge like a car repair shouldn’t compromise their futures,” Cooper said. “I’m proud that the Finish Line Grants program has provided more than 3,000 grants to help students find good-paying jobs to support themselves and their families for years to come.”
As of the end of 2019, more than 3,300 Finish Line Grants have been awarded to students at a total of $2.2 million. The fifth semester of the program began this month.
Cooper announced the establishment of the Finish Line Grants program in July 2018 after hearing from community college leaders that relatively small financial emergencies were causing students to drop out of their degree or credential program when they otherwise could have graduated. Grants were first made available in September of 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of an educated and well-trained workforce,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The Finish Line Grants program is one more tangible way North Carolina supports and develops its future workers, and companies notice and appreciate this commitment.”
All of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges and 23 workforce development boards are participating in the program. Community colleges and workforce development boards collaborate to apply for funding and establish a joint process for reviewing funding requests from students who have completed 50 percent of their degree or credential. Community college students may receive a maximum of $1,000 per semester by contacting their community colleges’ financial aid office or their local NCWorks Career Center to apply.
“I am always amazed at how a relatively small amount of money can change someone’s life forever and do so much good for our families and our communities,” Cooper added.
Eligible expenses for Finish Line Grants include car repair payments, medical bills, utility bills, and child care expenses. To ensure accountability, the grants are commonly paid directly to the car repair shop, doctor’s office, utility or child care provider.
“A temporary financial emergency shouldn’t stop a student’s momentum toward graduation and a brighter future,” said Peter Hans, president of the N.C. Community College System. “Finish Line Grants are helping our students overcome barriers to success. We are so grateful for the support.”
Lexine Merrill, a Finish Line Grants awardee and current nursing student, joined Governor Cooper at today’s announcement.
“The Finish Line grant relieved difficult financial burdens that were heavy on me and that had the potential to hinder my future prospects,” said Merrill. “This grant allowed me the opportunity to continue moving toward my finish line – graduating and working in my career field.”
To learn more about the Finish Line Grants program, click HERE.