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NC State officially launched the Community College Collaboration (C3) program, designed to help students enrolled in community colleges join NC State, in fall of 2018. The program recently received a $1,064,000 commitment over three years from the GlaxoSmithKline foundation. NC State decided to partner with the foundation because of its interest in helping people from low-income backgrounds receive degrees in STEM fields.

Holly Cowfer, assistant director of C3, said over half the money will go toward STEM scholarships, adding that each scholarship is valued around $5,000 and each is renewable each semester. The rest of the money will be used to help faculty and staff.

Martha Harmening, director of C3, described the program and its goals to help those transferring from community college.

“The C3 program is a program designed to increase access to an NC State degree for students from low-to-moderate income backgrounds and rural communities in North Carolina,” Harmening said.

Harmening said this program provides a guaranteed admission pathway to NC State for students who complete an associate of arts, science or engineering.

Louis Hunt, senior vice provost, provided some details about how C3 receives its funding.

“You have to articulate what you are trying to do — the goals, how you measure the outcomes and what you are going to do with the money,” Hunt said. “You need to write that up; follow the guidelines given by the entity awarding the money.”

Hunt said NC State looks for companies and foundations whose goals align with C3, which includes the goal of helping students from low-to-moderate income backgrounds receive an education.

Even though C3 is still new, Hunt says he and his colleagues are satisfied with what they have achieved so far and hope to continue helping more transfer students in the future.

The C3 program is limited to students who are enrolled in community college. In addition, students must receive an associate degree within three years and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students can enroll in any major at NC State, except for studio-based majors at the College of Design.

According to Harmening, the C3 program is a part of a larger goal to increase transfer students at NC State and improve the academic success of transfer students. Hammering said NC State wants a 50% increase of transfer students by 2025, which would enroll around 1,700 students.

Harmening said there are advisors at 10 local community colleges that help with the transfer process to NC State, and said those who are in the C3 program at their local colleges are required to enroll at NC State. The C3 program differs from dual-enrollment in that it does not apply to high school students taking community college courses.

C3 would like to expand to other community colleges in the future, but there aren’t currently any plans. In addition, Harmening said C3 is interested in expanding its aid to military students, but the plans have yet to be finalized.

Cowfer explained how NC State interacts with students already enrolled in the program.

“We meet each student one-on-one each semester at least once,” Cowfer said. “We try to get to know the student, figure out what their major is, what they are interested in, career ideas they might have … Because they are enrolled in the non-degree studies program, they have access to the degree audit, so we can plug in their majors and see what classes they need to take.”

So far, around 200 hundred students are currently enrolled in the C3 program. Most of them are still in community colleges. Cowfer said nine students transferred to NC State in fall of 2019, and 14 students transferred the following spring.

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