Improving access to postsecondary education by supporting organizations that remove barriers and provide opportunities for all students.
When we look at economic gaps in North Carolina, one fact stands out. Among adults whose earnings fall at or below the poverty line, 83% have no postsecondary education2. In 2014, only two thirds of North Carolina’s high school graduates enrolled in postsecondary education within sixteen months3.
Our students need information about applications, enrollment, and financial aid, as well as support systems—human and technological—to help them apply and plan for life after high school. Economic development without simultaneous investment in continuing education for North Carolina’s students will result in fewer opportunities for resident job-seekers4.
We must come together to improve access to postsecondary education.
OUR GOAL IS TO INCREASE ENROLLMENT OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES AND RETURNING ADULTS IN TWO AND FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES OR RELEVANT CREDENTIAL PROGRAMS.
STUDENTS AND OPPORTUNITY
“Having a college adviser has taught me that there is hope for everyone to further their education once they work hard enough for it. My adviser [wanted] the best for me, and I will forever be grateful for that.”
High School Senior
East Bladen High School, Elizabethtown, NC
College Advising Corps
Strengthening access into the College Pipeline for North Carolina’s Students
Award Amount: $10,000,000 (over 4 years)
College Advising Corps (CAC) increases the number of students who enter and complete postsecondary education by providing one-on-one meetings, guidance, and resources for low-income, minority, and first-generation college students in rural North Carolina, students who otherwise would not receive the support they need to identify and enroll in postsecondary programs. During the first two years of the grant, in partnership with Davidson College, Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 35 new full-time advisors have been placed in rural high schools throughout North Carolina. So far these advisors have helped more than 10,000 students plan their college searches, complete and submit more than 9500 applications and earn over $2.5 million in scholarships.
Increasing the number of students who complete postsecondary education with credentials relevant to market demands.
In 2020, 67% of jobs in North Carolina will require postsecondary education and training7. However, financial, family, and cultural barriers make completing a two- or four-year degree difficult for many students.
More than 40% of full-time community college students do not return after their first year, and that number rises to 55% for part-time students8.
We must come together to increase the number of students who complete postsecondary educational credentials and degrees.
OUR GOAL IS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO COMPLETE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION WITH MARKET-RELEVANT CREDENTIALS AND DEGREES, WITH AN INITIAL FOCUS ON GROWTH IN THE SIX-YEAR COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMPLETION / TRANSFER RATE.
STUDENTS AND OPPORTUNITY
Brunswick Community College
Strengthening community college completion rates for returning adults through Project Finish Line.
Award Amount: $150,000 (over 1 year)
Project Finish Line partners with the Brunswick Community College Foundation to reengage students who are within two courses of completing a career pathway certification or fifteen credit hours of completing an Associate’s Degree. The program provides fee assistance or emergency funds to these returning adults in order to help them complete a community college credential or degree. This effort seeks to accomplish two long-term goals: first, simply to improve students’ completion rates, and second to meet the increasing demand for a trained, credentialed workforce in rural Brunswick County.
The Aspen Institute & NC State University
Building Capacity for Community College Leadership and Planning for Excellence in North Carolina.
Award Amount: $1,075,000 (over 1 year)
The Aspen Institute will partner with eight community colleges in North Carolina to complete a deep analysis on their institutions and strategies to improve their student success. The reports generated by the Institute’s student experts from around the country will redefine community college institutions, helping them move “from good to great.” Additionally, the Aspen Institute’s work will infuse the curriculum of North Carolina State University’s community college leadership programs with critical professional development for the next generation of community college leaders in our state. This work is both important and timely, for it addresses an anticipated leadership shortage due to the likely retirement of many current community college administrators over the next five years.
“I came into Single Stop because I heard it was a place that could help with my struggles. I am a single parent of a 2-year-old boy. I am considered homeless as I live in a place for mothers and children. I don’t want to give up on my dream of graduating school…. It’s amazing that the resources are there to help struggling students.”
Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC
Streamlining and coordinating student resources through a technology platform that supports financial stability.
Award Amount: $7,750,000 (over 4 years)
Single Stop creates solutions for low-income residents seeking to complete postsecondary education by using an innovative technology platform to 1.) connect students to information and resources and 2.) activate crucial human supports, such as case management or tax services, to establish and sustain financial stability. In North Carolina, Single Stop’s proprietary technology, training, and support will benefit more than 40,000 students in up to ten community colleges that will include rural and veterans pilot sites and up to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the state.
Building collaboration between all stakeholders to open pathways that align with workforce needs and lead students to long-term, family-supporting employment.
North Carolina’s economy has undergone a dramatic shift. Many industries that once offered low-skilled workers living-wage employment no longer exist within the state. Today, a majority of North Carolina counties are vulnerable to technological unemployment10.
On the other hand, 45% of North Carolina current employers report they have had difficulty filling at least one position. The reason? “Lack of education credentials11.”
We must come together to ensure North Carolina's graduates have market-relevant credentials aligned with our state’s workforce needs.
OUR GOAL IS TO ENSURE NORTH CAROLINA’S POSTSECONDARY GRADUATES CAN SECURE LONG-TERM, FAMILY-SUSTAINING CAREERS BY GRADUATING WITH SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE THAT ALIGN WITH THE NEEDS OF NORTH CAROLINA’S EMPLOYERS.
STUDENTS AND OPPORTUNITY
Strengthening the workforce by connecting talent to jobs through NCWorks “Career Pathways” strategy.
Award Amount: $200,000 (over 1 year)
NCWorks is a new partnership between the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Department of Public Institutions, and Community College System Office. This organization believes that purposeful plans for education and training will lead to successful careers aligned with the needs of businesses and will certify career pathways for our state’s students and employers. NCWorks “Career Pathways” strategy attracts young people and adults into education and training programs for high-demand jobs needed by North Carolina industry.
North Carolina’s Economic Imperative: Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity
Award Amount: $255,252 (over 1 year)
The John M. Belk Endowment commissioned MDC to research and enhance statistics for economic mobility in North Carolina, as inspired by Harvard’s Equality of Opportunity Project. MDC studied the systemic barriers to economic mobility in North Carolina, examined the connections between education and employment, and produced detailed portraits of why so many of our citizens are at a competitive disadvantage. The 2016 MDC report offers both statistics and context that will help North Carolina regions and communities create opportunity for their residents. Post-publication events will be designed to build awareness and promote community response and action.