Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about the Longleaf Commitment community college grant program with education leaders and grant recipients at Pitt Community College. This is the Governor’s fourth event in recent weeks spotlighting the program and encouraging graduating high school seniors to apply.
“This investment in our students and community colleges will lead to more, better-paying jobs in every part of our state,” said Governor Cooper. “I encourage graduating high school seniors to apply for these Longleaf Commitment community college grants – they are already helping to make education more affordable so students can gain the skills and training they need to succeed.”
“The Longleaf Grant has helped out me and my family by helping relieve financial stress, allowing me to focus more on my education," said Yamileth Espino, Pitt Community College student and Longleaf Commitment grant recipient. "As the daughter of two immigrant parents who did not get the chance to even complete high school, it was extra important for me to continue with my education and make my parents proud. I look forward to continuing my college journey debt free.”
"Much of North Carolina’s economic recovery from COVID-19 depends on the success PCC and other community colleges have in preparing a skilled workforce for business and industry,” Pitt Community College President Lawrence L. Rouse said. “The Longleaf Commitment Grant makes education accessible and more affordable for North Carolina high school graduates who may not attend college otherwise, thus strengthening our ability to develop a pipeline of skilled professionals.”
In May 2021, the Governor launched the Longleaf Commitment community college grant program that ensures that 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.
To date, more than 13,600 students have received a Longleaf Commitment Grant with over $8,680,000 going to support students across the state. 63% of the grants have gone to students with family incomes less than $70,000. More than 500 Pitt Community College students have received Longleaf Commitment grants totaling over $308,000.
At Governor Cooper’s direction, 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, the Governor 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.
Pitt Community College offers more than 60 programs and provides adult basic education, literacy training and occupational extension courses. The college serves more than 23,000 students annually.
Learn more about the Longleaf Commitment Grants and how to apply here.