$9.6 million grant aimed at NC’s community colleges

A new grant of $9.6 million is aimed at helping more North Carolina community college students finish their degrees.

The Charlotte-based John M. Belk Foundation announced a new round of grants Tuesday.

The largest, $7.75 million, will bring a program called “Single Stop” to the state. The initiative harnesses technology, training and counseling to help students find financial aid to be able to complete a degree or credential. It will be launched at more than a dozen sites in North Carolina, including community colleges, veterans’ centers and historically black universities.

Other grants will go toward efforts to create career pathways for students and to lure more of those with partial academic credit back to college to earn degrees.

Among the smaller grants announced, $525,000 will go to N.C. State University to join with the Aspen Institute to improve curricula for programs aimed at developing community college leaders.

The end goal is providing more students with education and skills for the workforce. The John M. Belk Endowment’s mission is to increase access and completion of college education for underrepresented students.

The state’s community college system has a focus on improving the graduation rates of its students.

“The John M. Belk Endowment recognizes community colleges play a vital role in getting more North Carolinians into family sustaining jobs,” the organization’s executive director, Kristy Teskey, said in a news release.

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