PEMBROKE – The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is expanding opportunities for students who begin their college careers at Sandhills Community College and continue their education at UNCP.
The university and Sandhills Community College have signed a partnership agreement for BraveStep, a co-admissions program aimed at increasing access to quality, affordable education that ensures student success.
Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings and Sandhills President John Dempsey signed an agreement Thursday during a small ceremony at the Sandhills campus in Pinehurst.
Dempsey noted the financial benefit to students who choose to take advantage of the new arrangement.
“Sandhills is proud and honored to be part of UNCP’s BraveStep program. What a great opportunity for us to work together to meet the educational needs of students in this area. Can you imagine – a student who wins the Sandhills Promise Scholarship, then enrolls in the BraveStep program and graduates four years of college debt free! This program is a great opportunity and a great addition to this part of North Carolina,” said Dempsey.
The Sandhill Promise Scholarship offers a two-year full post-high school scholarship for residents of Moore and Hoke counties who graduate from a public/private high school or registered home school after completing four dual matriculation courses at Sandhills. These students, if enrolled in the BraveStep program, can take advantage of the NC Promise Tuition Plan once they transfer to UNCP as undergraduate students. The NC Promise programs offer state resident tuition from just $500 per semester. With scholarships and financial aid available, eligible students could earn both degrees with little to no debt after graduation.
Those present included the members of the UNCP Board of Trustees, Dr. Wiley Barrett and Pat Corso, former trustee George Little and interim provost Zoe Locklear.
Corso, Chair of the UNCP Board of Trustees, is a strong advocate for affordable education and the economic benefits such partnerships bring to the region.
“This latest partnership is an extension of Sandhills’ longstanding relationship with UNCP to advance students in their college careers. Sandhills is seeing strong growth with its nursing program to fill the gap in the growing need for nursing in this region, so this fits hand-in-hand with UNCP’s BraveStep program,” said Corso.
Qualifying students selected as BraveStep students are jointly admitted to both institutions and are eligible to participate in North Carolina’s Reverse Transfer Program. Students may transfer to the UNCP after completing at least 30 credit hours. This allows them to earn an associate’s degree from SCC with the credits they earn at UNCP.
Chancellor Cummings said the purpose of BraveStep is to create a bridge program that provides prospective UNCP students with a path to success. And then offer the opportunities that a four-year apprenticeship can offer.
“In recent years, UNCP has expanded the academic opportunities available to our students by creating pathways to success through partnerships with other colleges and universities,” said Cummings.
“Many of the pathways allow UNCP students to continue their education at other institutions such as the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University or the Colleges of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine at NC State University.
The paths that lead to our university are just as important and perhaps more effective than the one we are creating today.”
This co-admissions partnership with regional community colleges is designed to prepare students for the challenges of a four-year institution and ensure their successful transition and eventual graduation.
From day one, BraveStep students will be members of BraveNation and the Sandhills Flyers community. You will have a UNCP student ID and access to all campus resources, programs and access to sporting events. You will receive academic guidance from both institutions through a collaborative model designed to provide support and guidance every step of the way.
“This is a partnership structured not around institutional silos, but around our shared mission and commitment to transforming lives through education across our state,” Cummings said.
Sandhills is the latest community college to sign a BraveStep agreement. UNCP has similar agreements with the community colleges of Robeson, Southeastern, Brunswick, Wayne, and Richmond.
Mark Locklear is the Public Communications Specialist at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.