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No tuition, fees for BCCC students until 2023

Beaufort County Community College announced on Monday that it will cover all tuition and fees for students through the spring 2023 semester.

The Beaufort Promise program will use a combination of existing and new federal and state programs to pay for college credit classes as well as initial certification classes through the Division of Continuing Education. Through the Beaufort Promise, BCCC hopes to expand access to higher education for residents in its service area.

The Beaufort Promise will be a “last dollar” program, meaning the college will exhaust all other existing funding first. Many students already attended the college for free through dual-enrollment high school programs, such as an early college high school or Career and College Promise. Many students attending BCCC cover their tuition and fees through Pell grants. Programs such as high school equivalency/GED classes and small business seminars are already free, and NC Works helps many students take Continuing Education classes for free. BCCC now aims to help every student who wants to earn an associate degree, credential, or wants to take classes for transfer pay for these courses.

The new funding for the Beaufort Promise comes from Gov. Roy Cooper’s Longleaf Commitment and the American Rescue Plan, along with other scholarships from the Golden LEAF Foundation and the BCCC Foundation. The funds were designated to keep students enrolled who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related financial hardships and to retrain workers for a shifting economy.

In announcing the Beaufort Promise program, BCCC President Dr. Dave Loope said, “We want to make a significant difference in the lives of people from all backgrounds and believe that covering all tuition and fees is the most direct way to achieve this goal.”

Tuition and fees will be covered starting July 1, 2021 through May 16, 2023. Students can be enrolled full-time or part-time, and the program is open to all North Carolina residents.

The Financial Aid Office and Division of Continuing Education staff will work with students to help them apply for the funds that are best suited for their financial situation. Students will have to fill out a FAFSA or equivalent form to evaluate their financial needs and qualifications. Textbooks and cost of living allowances are not covered by new funds, though students who qualify for Pell grants can use those funds to cover cost of attendance. Students can also apply for scholarships to cover additional costs.

Students cannot be on academic suspension or in violation of the student code of conduct and receive Beaufort Promise funds.

Examples of eligible programs include all nursing programs, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science transfer programs, all programs through the Division of Business, Industry and Public Services such as mechanical engineering technology, business administration, automotive systems technology, medical office administration, basic law enforcement training, and information technology and initial certification classes over 50 hours through the Division of Continuing Education, such as CDL truck driving, real estate certification, manicuring, fire training, HVAC technician, EMT, and pharmacy technician.

BCCC hopes that by covering tuition and fees it can help students from across the region advance their education to help raise educational attainment rates in its service area. Higher educational attainment can help families and individuals build a solid financial foundation and offer them mobility and flexibility in the workplace. The college also hopes to help fill gaps in employment left by the pandemic.

Prospective students can call BCCC at 252-946-6194 or visit www.beaufortccc.edu. All campus offices are open. Starting June 14, the college will no longer require masks or social distancing. Registration is now open for all 2021 classes.