A new program at Northeastern Technical College will help high school students not only start college early but provide some relief for tuition.
It is open to all high school students in Marlboro, Chesterfield, and Dillon counties in public or private schools.
Dr. Mark Bunch, dean of continuing education and workforce development at NETC, said students must take at least two college classes during their high school career so they can qualify for 12 months of tuition-free classes.
“There is funding available for any student regardless of income to get that training where they can immediately get into the workforce and begin a career after they work toward a two-year associate degree in the workforce area or general education side to transfer to an institution,” he said.
For instance, when a senior graduates from high school in June, they could start summer classes.
Bunch said classes would be tuition-free from the summer of 2020 through August 2021. He added students should be able to complete a two-year associate degree or general education classes that will transfer to any South Carolina public or private institution.
“Students would be able to go somewhere such as Francis Marion University or the University of South Carolina as a junior,” he said.
Funding for the program comes from federal funding (Pell grant), state funding and developed relationships in the counties through local foundations and millages to put funds toward tuition.
“This will allow students who would not have an opportunity to finish what they started in high school and then go off to years three and four,” he said.
It is also workforce-related because it would allow students to complete certificates in welding, machine tooling, electrical, nursing, and accounting.
“This is for the student who wants to get a certificate and go to work automatically but couldn’t afford to do it,” Bunch said. “Now it will allow them to do so.”
He encouraged students to get their FAFSA form for federal student aid completed and turned in.
Bunch noted it may not cover their books but funding is set aside for the books.
NETC officials are working on a program to be able to provide textbooks at a lower cost for students.
If students have any questions, they can talk to their guidance counselor or call NETC at 843-921-1451.