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Perspective | Lt. Gov. candidate Ron Newton weighs in on community colleges

In 2019, EdNC.org began holding student town halls at community colleges across North Carolina. In January, we expanded access to the town hall experience with a virtual town hall that allowed community college students to share their opinions on the issues that matter most to them. The virtual town hall received more than 5,000 responses from 350+ community college students. Click here to view the results.

North Carolina’s lieutenant governor has a seat on the state board of community colleges. So, we asked candidates for the office to respond to any or all of the issues identifies in the town hall, or any others impacting community colleges that would be a priority for their tenure.

There should be more scholarships and grants for community college students. I support the idea of many students being able to go directly into the workplace with good paying jobs and highly skilled crafts.

I also believe that healthcare should be a constitutional right for all residents of North Carolina. Leniency must be a consideration for community college students, because there are many places in North Carolina where there is no fiber-optic wiring in the roadways to allow rural community college students to reach cell towers or cyberspace. 

I believe universities should have the right to establish acceptance policies. But, I believe that universities that are a part of the UNC System should standardize their policies to make it more understandable for community college students. I do not believe in GAP legislation. I believe that community college tuition should be free for those who are unable to pay. FAFSA is not easy to complete. The system needs review.

Additionally, I believe that when a student leaves either community college or graduates from a four-year school, that the employer who chooses to hire them should repay that all student loan debt for their new employee. In return I am willing to give the company a student loan debt recovery credit on their taxes.

Ron Newton

Ron Newton is the CEO of a tax firm in Durham. Newton is running for Lt. Governor.