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Enrollment funding passes the Senate

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Senate Bill 816 passed the full Senate with funding for enrollment growth for colleges… Johnston CC has a new STEM pathways program… The NC Community College System office announced two new senior hires… 

The big news out of Raleigh this week is Senate Bill 816, which passed the Senate this week. It would fund enrollment growth for the state’s community colleges for the coming school year. In total, it would provide $41.5 million to fund enrollment growth using money from the federal government earmarked to battle COVID-19 impacts.

The House added language around Cooperative Innovative High Schools so it had to go back to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate didn’t concur, so the bill goes now to a conference committee to resolve the differences.

Also included in the bill is supplemental funding for some Cooperative Innovative High Schools as our Senior Reporter Alex Granados reports. For Alex’s update on other legislative action, click below for his full story.

Click here for the story

I also wanted to say thank you for everyone who attended our first Awake58 Virtual Town Hall on Monday. 

Kandi Deitemeyer of Central Piedmont CC, Garrett Hinshaw of Catawba Valley CC, and Lawrence Rouse of Pitt CC provided insights and stories from their institutions as they have navigated CARES Act funding in recent months. David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis for the American Association of Community Colleges, gave his perspective on the evolution of the CARES Act as well as what the future might hold for federal funding.

Hinshaw shared that due to COVID-19, the cost of instructional delivery could be as much as three times higher than usual this fall for CVCC. Deitemeyer, Rouse, and Hinshaw all noted that rising costs, including a spike in enrollment, are coming at the same time that the state revenue picture could lead to community colleges being asked to stretch themselves even more. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as we share the content from the webinar as well as answer more of your questions.

Do you have ideas for how we might improve the town hall moving forward or thoughts on what issues you might wish for us to explore next? Reply directly to this email or text your thoughts to us by texting COLLEGE to 73224.

Thank you for reading this week!

Have a great week,


Director of Growth,

Community colleges work to strengthen early childhood teacher pipeline

My colleague Liz Bell has reported repeatedly on the early childhood preparation and training conducted by community colleges. I particularly appreciated her piece from December on the path one early childhood educator had traversed to land a career that she found meaningful.

COVID-19, and the ensuing economic downturn, has raised a lot of questions in the early childhood space, including the role of child care centers during a pandemic, the potential impacts on the pipeline of early childhood teachers long term, and more.

Liz’s latest piece looks at these issues through the eyes of early childhood educators at Central Piedmont Community College and James Sprunt Community College. Fren’Tres McGhee, an early childhood teacher and student at CPCC, is part of the STRIVE program that is intended to bolster the pipeline of early childhood educators.

Liz wraps with this perspective from McGee: 

“After she graduates, she plans to go back to school and earn her bachelor’s degree, with the goal of being a kindergarten teacher.

“She said pay is part of that equation. In North Carolina, early educator salaries and education requirements depend on the setting in which you’re teaching and the star rating of the center. Elementary school teachers are generally paid more than early childhood teachers. Yet McGhee said she wants folks to know, it’s the very earliest years, and the workforce behind those years, that matter most.

“‘Everything they learn from birth to 4… it’s experiences that move them forward for the rest of their life,’ she said.”For the full piece, click here.

Johnston CC’s STEM Pathways partnership is ramping up

Johnston Community College has a new dual enrollment initiative with the Johnston County Early College Academy, according to reporting from my colleague Caroline Parker.

As Caroline writes, “The partnership, entitled STEM Pathways, will take rising freshmen from 14 different Johnston County middle schools down a specially-designed road to secure either an associate in engineering (AE) or associate in science with an engineering concentration degree by the time they graduate high school.” 

“STEM Pathways has been more than a year in the making and was originally a dream of Rodney Allred, director of college counseling at JCECA, who was looking to expand the school. His office is down the hall from Dawn Dixon, associate vice president at JCC. She says, ‘We do a lot of thinking about what students will need when they exit in three to five years,’ and giving early college students direct access to the college’s engineering program was really important.”

For the full story on STEM Pathways, check out Caroline’s piece by clicking here. 

Additional perspectives on this moment in time

We sincerely appreciate everyone who has shared perspectives with us on the intersection of race, community colleges, and our state. I am still making my way through the many, many responses, and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your stories.

I did want to highlight one of the perspectives that we published last week.

Michael Garcia, who works at Central Piedmont Community College in corporate and continuing education, wrote a piece entitled, “Dear white colleagues: An open letter.”

In his essay, Garcia said, “I begin this open letter by asking for your cooperation. As cities across the nation emerge from quarantine and we return to work – your colleagues of color need space. We need space to digest and process the emotions associated with the never-ending cycle of systematic abuse directed towards your black and brown and Latino neighbors.”

“We are asking you to be sensitive to what we are feeling. We are citizens of this country just like you – yet our experiences are not the same. We as your colleagues must show up to work and act, behave, and pretend, that we are not affected by the atrocities that we have witnessed – that is impossible.”

We also published a perspective from Darrin Hartness, president of Davidson County Community College, that was originally a message to his campus community. Hartness writes: 

“George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, from circumstances that have become too frequent and too familiar. His murder, at the hands of a bad cop, was beyond tragic. The actions of this bad cop, and the actions and inactions by several around him, put a negative light on the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each day for our safety, standing by their oath to protect and serve. This death and too many other similar circumstances have exposed continued racism and released anger and sorrow. Let’s not be like those who stood around and did nothing to stop George Floyd from dying!

“As I have reflected on the events that began in Minneapolis last week, I cannot help but to also remember our Latino and Asian students and neighbors. The public health crisis has had a disproportionate effect on our Latino communities. Latinos have been unfairly profiled and Asian citizens in our country have been blamed for bringing the coronavirus to America. These accusations are hurtful and harmful to those targeted, lead to more mistrust and tension, and perpetuate racism. This pattern must not be tolerated.”

For Hartness’ full piece, click here.

If you have your own perspective you might wish to share, please feel free to reach out to my colleague Molly Osborne at

For a full list of statements on racial equity from across the educational continuum, check out this piece. If we missed your college’s statement, please let us know. is also continuing to wrestle with our own organizational role and direction as it relates to racial equity. My colleague Mebane Rash shared a lengthy piece outlining our approach to date, as well as some of the ideas that we are considering moving forward. Once you read her piece, be sure to send us feedback. We’re eager to hear from you.

Survey: We want to know if high school seniors are changing their plans

We’ve heard from many of you regarding your college’s efforts to market to high school seniors who might be changing their college going plans as a result of COVID-19, and now we want to hear from students directly. 

We are wondering if students are deciding to go to four-year institutions, despite the fact that campus life will be very different. Are they going to a community college near home instead? Are they trying to find work or involvement in a public service organization? And most importantly, how has the last quarter of their senior year affected this choice, and what do all these changes mean for them?

Will you circulate the link to graduating seniors you may know? Thank you!

Around NC

The NC Community College system office announced that Lisa Eads will be the associate vice president for programs and Nate Humphrey will be the associate vice president for workforce continuing education. 

Student winners of the 2020 Academic Excellence Awards have also been announced at North Carolina’s community colleges.

WITN is out with a piece looking at enrollment increases in community colleges with a particular eye on the impact on Pitt CC. 

Central Piedmont Community College student Michael-Michelle Pratt, a student in the college’s Associate in Arts degree program, recently had an op-ed piece featured in the June issue of Teen Vogue called, “Growing Up Black Between Trayvon Martin and George Floyd Has My Generation at a Boiling Point.

The Hendersonville Lightning has a piece out on Chris English being named president of Southeastern CC. English currently serves as the Blue Ridge CC VP of Economic and Workforce Development Continuing Education.

Five more community colleges are joining the ECU Pirate Promise program.

The FAFSA push is on

The priority deadline for completing the FAFSA is June 30. College Advising Corps is partnering with CFNC and NCSEAA to offer live FAFSA question and answer sessions during the month of June. Click here for details about how to join a live Zoom session to learn more about the FAFSA and ask specific questions. Click here for a guide on how to fill out the FAFSA, and click here to visit the FAFSAFrenzyNC website.

For our full FAFSA series, check out our website.

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Correction: The article linked at the topTeacher pay: Bill would provide bonuses but no new pay raises,” incorrectly stated that a bill funding enrollment growth for community colleges had passed the full General Assembly. The bill passed both the Senate and the House, but additional language added in the House necessitated the bill return to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate did not concur and the bill is now in a conference committee to resolve the differences. We have since updated both the original article and this piece.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.