From left, Bennett Lasater, Jacqueline Tamayao, Governor Roy Cooper, CCCC President Dr. Lisa Chapman, Aniya McAllister, and Ashley Cervantes Campos.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited Sanford Tuesday for a roundtable discussion about the Longleaf Commitment community college grant program with education leaders and grant recipients at Central Carolina Community College.

“Our community colleges are preparing people for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Cooper said. “These Longleaf Commitment community college grants are already helping to make education more affordable, so students can gain the skills and training they need to succeed.”

“The Longleaf Commitment grant establishes an opportunity to relieve stress from financial hardship and has provided a path for generations of students like me to learn new skills that will become useful to our workforce today,” said Bennett Lasater, a CCCC student and Longleaf Commitment grant recipient.

“Our region is experiencing tremendous economic growth. We are proud of and believe in our home-grown talent and we know that economic mobility is essential to sustaining this regional growth,” said CCCC President Dr. Lisa M. Chapman. “Minimizing barriers to career pathways is critical for our local talent’s success and the Longleaf Commitment grants have substantially reduced education finance challenges for Chatham, Harnett, and Lee County residents. CCCC appreciates this support.”

In May 2021, Cooper launched the Longleaf Commitment community college grant program that ensures recent high school graduates from low- and middle-income families will receive at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. The Commitment program supplements the federal Pell grant and existing aid by providing an additional $700 to $2,800 grant per year.

Governor Roy Cooper takes questions from media at Central Carolina Community College on Tuesday.

To date, over 11,600 students have received a Longleaf Commitment grant totaling more than $4.6 million. 70 percent of the grants have gone to students with family incomes less than $60,000. Over 430 Central Carolina Community College students have received a Longleaf Commitment grant totaling more than $244,000.

The Longleaf Commitment Program was created last year for 2021 high school graduates and funded by the governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds. In November 2021, Cooper signed the bipartisan state budget into law which expands the Longleaf Commitment Program to include 2022 high school graduates.

Eligible high school seniors can apply for the Longleaf Commitment grant by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and enrolling in a community college.

Central Carolina Community College serves three counties Lee, Harnett and Chatham counties, offering a wide variety of programs including one and two-year degree programs, transfer programs, College and Career Readiness training, GED programs, and technical, vocational and general interest training.

Learn more about the Longleaf Commitment grants and how to apply here.