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Video: Our first year covering North Carolina’s community colleges

More than a year ago, we made a promise to cover community colleges in North Carolina. A lot has happened since then.

We kicked off that coverage with a statewide tour we called the blitz. During the blitz, our team visited all 58 community colleges in a week and a half. On those visits, we spoke to college faculty, students, and administrators to learn more about the system as a whole. The things they told us laid the groundwork for our news coverage for the rest of the year.

One issue we heard a lot about was the Residency Determination Service, or RDS. This online service determines whether students can claim residency in North Carolina and receive in-state tuition. But for many prospective students, completing the form itself was a significant obstacle to enrollment.

We profiled short-term workforce training programs at various colleges. Unlike the various two-year associate degrees offered by our community colleges, these programs teach skills that are immediately applicable to the workforce in the local area.

We also took a look at funding and enrollment, which are complex and connected issues in the community college world. We explained in depth how the two are connected and broke down how the state decides how much money to give each college.

Finally, we launched our Awake58 newsletter to connect all of this content, and more, with those who care about it the most. You can sign up for the Awake58 newsletter here to get the latest community college news in your inbox each week.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at