At Pitt Community College, Governor Cooper, Administrators and Students Discuss Importance of Finish Line Grant Program


Today, Governor Roy Cooper led a roundtable with Pitt Community College students, graduates, and administrators to highlight key successes in the Finish Line Grants program. Earlier this month, Gov. Cooper announced that the Finish Line Grants program has issued more than 3,000 grants and $2 million since the program was announced in July 2018.

Over 100 Pitt Community College students have received Finish Line Grants, totaling $92,000 in funding, to help cover unexpected financial emergencies, such as a car repair or medical bill. Community college students at all 58 of North Carolina’s community colleges who are on track to graduate are eligible to apply for Finish Line Grants.

“Finish Line Grants are a reward for hard work,” said Governor Cooper. “Our families and communities all do better when our students cross the finish line and become active, self-sufficient members of the workforce.”

Pitt Community College President Lawrence Rouse, Rivers East Workforce Development Director Jennie Bowen, Pitt Community College Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Evans, and several Finish Line Grant recipients joined Governor Cooper at the roundtable.

Isaiah Summrell, a recent Electrical Systems Technology program graduate, had an unforeseen financial emergency. The Finish Line Grant helped him continue to work towards earning a four-year degree.

"I am from Greenville, and the son of two Pitt Community College alumni, and thanks to the Finish Line Grant program, I'm a proud Pitt Community College alumni myself," said Isaiah Summrell. "I had an unexpected financial emergency at work, and the Finish Line Grants program helped me to finish my degree in Industrial Systems Technology and stay on track for a bachelor's degree in engineering."

Heather Hobbs, a nursing student, faced financial uncertainty when her car broke down. The Finish Line Grants program paid her car repair bill, allowing her to stay in school and focus on her studies.

"My lifelong dream has always been to be a nurse, but it was not easy to leave my job and go back to school, especially as a mother of three. And the nursing program is incredibly demanding – with classes and clinicals as early as 6:30 AM and as late as 9:00 PM. When my car needed vehicle repairs, I wasn't sure what I was going to do – I needed that transportation to get to and from classes,” said Heather Hobbs. “The Finish Line Grants program helped remove that burden, allowing me to continue with my studies and pursue my dream of becoming a registered nurse.”

Josh Tripp, a welding student, found himself in a bind after a car accident.

“An unexpected accident left me without transportation, medical expenses and a pile of bills,” said Josh Tripp. “The Finish Line Grant gave me the extra help needed to stay on track until I can get my feet back on the ground.”

Jasmine Dye, a Business Administration student, is set to graduate in May. A Finish Line Grant helped her to continue taking classes after her hours at work changed and she was not earning enough to finish school and pay rent.

"I've held down a job while I've been a student at Pitt Community College, but this year I started getting left off the work schedule repeatedly. And that meant I wasn't working enough hours to go to school and pay rent," said Jasmine Dye. "I didn't want to ask for help, because I didn't want anyone to see me as a charity case, but now I honestly don't know what I would've done without the Finish Line Grant. It helped me relieve the financial weight and stay on track to graduating."

Jonathan Oxendine also joined today’s roundtable. Jonathan is a horticulture technology student who also runs his own landscaping business.

“If it wasn’t for the Finish Line Grant, I wouldn’t be able to attend school this semester,” said Jonathan Oxendine. “I own a landscaping business and take classes as a full-time student. Working enough to ensure I can pay for necessary expenses — like rent — on top of taking full-time classes started to feel impossible. Because of the Finish Line Grants, I am on track to graduate with my landscape contractor’s license and secure more commercial contracts.”

To learn more about the Finish Line Grants program, click HERE


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