Governor Cooper Highlights Longleaf Commitment Community College Grants in Winston-Salem as Forsyth Tech Announces Expansion of Program
Raleigh, NC (STL.News) Governor Roy Cooper continued a series of statewide events highlighting the Longleaf Commitment community college grant program by hosting a roundtable discussion with education leaders and students at Forsyth Technical Community College. The Governor was joined by Forsyth Technical Community College President Dr. Janet N. Spriggs and several Longleaf Commitment grant recipients to discuss the program’s impact on students and encourage eligible and graduating high school seniors to apply for the grant program. Due to the success of the grants, Forsyth Tech leaders announced during the event that they are expanding the program to all students in the class of 2022.
“North Carolina’s community colleges are a major force in strengthening our students and growing our workforce,” said Governor Cooper. “The Longleaf Commitment community college grants program is already helping our students continue their education debt-free at one of our strong community colleges and it’s great to see the success of these grants lead to expanded access at Forsyth Tech.”
“My name is Renuka and I was born and raised in India. I am a transfer student at Forsyth Technical Community College. I am grateful to have been chosen as one of the fortunate students to get the Longleaf Commitment Grant,” said Reunka Fnu, Forsyth Technical Community College Student and Longleaf Commitment Grant Recipient. “Due to the grant, I can pursue my degree without the fear of financial hardship.”
“Without the Governor’s Longleaf Commitment, many of our students would have faced insurmountable financial barriers to receive a college education and life-sustaining wages. For the second year in a row, we are excited to extend our Class of 2021 College Commitment to the Class of 2022,” said Dr. Janet N. Spriggs, President of Forsyth Technical Community College. “This promise – our college commitment is simple: we commit to any 2022 North Carolina high school graduate who comes to Forsyth Tech this year, truly free college for this academic year. This is all possible thanks to the continued support and funds from our legislators and the Governor.”
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, 11,604 students have received a Longleaf Commitment Grant totaling $4,614,021. 70% of the grants have gone to students with family incomes less than $60,000. Over 1,000 Forsyth Tech Community College students have received Longleaf Commitment Grants totaling more than $435,000.
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.
During the roundtable, Forsyth Tech President Dr. Janet N. Spriggs announced that the recent expansion of the Governor’s Longleaf Commitment program will allow Forsyth Tech to continue offering free tuition for any graduate of a North Carolina high school who has completed the FAFSA or Forsyth Tech Alternative FAFSA and is enrolled at least at a part-time level of six college credits or more. Forsyth Tech previously offered free tuition for 2021 high school graduates, made possible primarily by the funding allocated in the Governor’s Longleaf Commitment grant program.
Forsyth Tech offers many programs such as skill training, vocational instruction, college transfer and two-year degree programs, corporate training, continuing education and personal enrichment classes.