ALBEMARLE — On May 24, Stanly Community College and Wingate University mutually announced the Gateway Scholarship, a new partnership between the two institutions where associate-degree graduates of SCC can earn a bachelor’s at Wingate for $2,500 per year or less.
Announced by SCC President Dr. John Enamait and Wingate President Dr. Rhett Brown at the signing event on SCC’s Albemarle campus, the partnership will also result in articulation agreements designed to simplify the pathways for students seeking bachelor’s degrees in human services, psychology and accounting.
“I would like to say how much I appreciate Wingate working with us. We appreciate you recognizing the value of Stanly Community College to Stanly County and the region,” Enamait said in a press release. “The college and our students in Stanly County will recognize the fruits of these labors. Sometimes we don’t see the immediate results of our efforts, but this is an easy one to really understand the implication for our students and for workforce development.”
At the signing event, Brown mentioned that the scholarship is another step in the right direction for helping North Carolina close its educational attainment gap.
“When we care about our community and think about cradle-to-career and all of our educational needs, we know that collaboration is key. We couldn’t be more pleased to work with Stanly and tackle issues together – whether cost, transferability or time-to-degree,” Brown added. “We already serve a significant number of students from across Rocky River and look forward to opening the door for more of them to build on the success they’ve achieved at Stanly Community College. Our state needs 2 million people with postsecondary degrees or certificates by 2030. We believe the Gateway Scholarship is part of the solution.”
The statewide nonprofit organization myFutureNC has reported that although 67% of jobs within the state do require a postsecondary degree or high-quality credential, less than half (49%) of North Carolinians aged between 25 to 44 hold that level of education. Those numbers are even lower on a local level — fewer than one in five Stanly County residents in that same age range holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Carolina Demography, a research team located within the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, has recently released data showing that 54% of Stanly County high school students enroll in a postsecondary institution within a year after graduating. That figure is slightly less (3% fewer) than in surrounding counties but, statistically, more Stanly students advance to their second year (77% versus 73%), and their six-year graduation rate also exceeds the rate of nearby counties.