BCCC hoping to keep Beaufort Promise with county funds

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Beaufort County Community College (BCCC) is hoping it can keep its promise to students to fully fund their tuition through the Beaufort Promise Program. 

Beaufort Promise Program is a “last dollar scholarship” which uses state and federal funds to pay for college credits or initial certifications. The college was able to cover the cost of tuition through Spring of 2023 with money from the American Rescue Plan. Students are able to use other scholarships like Pell grants to help pay for textbooks. They can use other scholarships in conjunction with Beaufort Promise. 

The community college would like to continue the Beaufort Promise Program; however, they need another source of funding after all American Rescue Plan dollars have been expended. On Tuesday, May 24, President of BCCC, Dr. David Loope approached the Board of County Commissioners to discuss how the county could finance the program. 

If approved by commissioners, county tax dollars would pour into the program. Specifically, $250,000 would be spent each year for four years; therefore, a total of $1 million would be supplied by the county. The money would come out of the fund balance and set aside into a special revenue fund so that the college could charge against that at $250,000 per year, County Manager, Brian Alligood explained at the meeting. Using this method would allow commissioners, the county, to watch and study how effective the program can be and whether they see a return of investment. 

The goal of Beaufort Promise is to improve local workforce development and economic development. 

“Students vote with their feet,” Loope said at the meeting. “If they’re going to come and they’re going to stay here instead of driving past us and going to Pitt County  or to other places, and they’re going to continue to enroll at Beaufort…,” Loope said.  

Loope believes Beaufort Promise can “change the economic development landscape here.” 

Beaufort Promise would help students between the ages of 18 to 45 (or older) who are taking continuing technical education courses such as CDL truck driving, welding, HVAC or mechanical technology engineering. The students would be taking at least nine credit hours or completing 50-hour programs.

Guidelines for the Beaufort Promise Program have yet to be set. If approved by county commissioners, criteria for the program could change. The guidelines will be written if funding for the program is approved. For more information about criteria related to the program, visit, https://www.beaufortccc.edu/beaufort-promise

Vice-Chairman Jerry Langley and Commissioner Ed Booth and John Rebholz gave their support for the program, but Hood Richardson and Stan Deatherage were opposed. Chairman Frankie Waters did not share his opinion and Commissioner Randy Walker was not present. The Board did not vote on whether to approve or deny funding the Beaufort Promise Program.