The idea of a scholarship that would reward associate’s-degree graduates for their hard work and encourage them to pursue a bachelor’s degree emerged from a growing partnership between South Piedmont Community College and Wingate University and the state’s growing need for a better prepared workforce.
Studies have shown that by 2030, North Carolina will need at least 2 million employees with high-quality postsecondary degrees or credentials. Right now, there are only 1.3 million. And although the state is blessed with colleges and universities, educational opportunities are not equitably distributed. Far fewer North Carolina students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds earn postsecondary credentials than do students with greater economic stability.
And it’s not that they don’t want to. In fact, 94 percent of state residents responding to a recent poll say it’s important for adults to have education beyond high school, but fewer than half of those residents ages 25-44 do.
To help remove barriers that can keep students from reaching their potential, Wingate and South Piedmont Community College worked out ways to smooth the transfer process, to ensure that students’ prior learning experiences inside and outside the classroom are considered for credit and to lower costs.
That’s where the scholarship comes in. It guarantees that annual out-of-pocket tuition costs at Wingate will be no more than $2,500 for qualifying applicants.
Anyone with an associate’s degree from South Piedmont Community College who has been admitted to Wingate University for the fall semester of 2019 or later qualifies for the Gateway Scholarship. Applicants must complete the FAFSA or an applicable financial responsibility form.
The scholarship can be applied to tuition only. Students who wish to live on campus must pay room and board separately. That said, the first 10 students to enroll in the Gateway Scholarship program for the Fall 2019 semester will receive a free commuter meal plan.