The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has awarded a $1 million grant to Pitt Community College to help boost college enrollment and completion rates among students in rural areas.
ED has presented a total of $44.5 million to 22 of the nation’s higher education institutions through its Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development (RPED) Grant Program. PCC was one of eight community colleges to receive an award and one of two in North Carolina, along with McDowell Technical Community College in Marion.
Pitt’s grant provides 100% of the funding the college needed to power an innovative project aimed at transforming the postsecondary landscape for rural students in Pitt County and surrounding areas, according to PCC Grants Management Director Jamie Mitchell.
The effort is expected to reach more than 2,000 rural middle and high school students annually.
Part of the grant funding will help expand a current PCC initiative by adding a third career coach to serve students at two local high schools with grade-specific curriculum information, degree, diploma and certificate details, and pathway progression checklists tailored to meet their unique needs.
PCC President Lawrence Rouse said the college’s RPED program will employ an academic coach to provide academic counseling and connect participants with the wraparound support services they need for success on and off campus.
“Understanding the importance of holistic development, our RPED program focuses on building self-confidence, perseverance, critical thinking skills, and self-responsibility essential for long-term success,” said Rouse.