Friday, December 9, 2022

Free community college tuition recipients nearly double with ‘Brunswick Guarantee’

The Brunswick Guarantee Scholarship Program is a publicly-funded partnership between the county and community college to allow eligible high school graduates free tuition. (Port City Daily/Courtesy BCC)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — The number of eligible Brunswick County Schools graduates receiving free tuition to Brunswick Community College under the Brunswick Guarantee scholarship program has nearly doubled since the initiative started three years ago.

The program is intended to encourage public, private, or homeschooled students in Brunswick County to pursue a degree, diploma, or certificate at BCC — at little or no cost.

Related: The COAST, Brunswick’s public technical school, is ready for more students

Brunswick County Commissioners and BCC Board of Trustees met for a special meeting Thursday at BCC in Leland to receive an update on the program and tour the campus.

Since launching the pilot program in 2017, applications are up 84% in 2019-2020. Eligible recipients are also up the same amount, with 118 students currently awarded the scholarship and a few more expected before the academic year ends this summer. A majority of recipients choose to pursue BCC’s college transfer program once enrolled, according to the update shared.

County funded

Brunswick County will pay BCC $4.5 million this fiscal year to cover a wide range of operational costs; according to the county’s budget, Brunswick County was ranked second in the state last year for local funding support for community colleges.

Under the Brunswick Guarantee, the county reimburses BCC for tuition and book costs for eligible scholarship recipients. The program covers all tuition costs not already covered by financial aid or scholarships. Books are covered for up to $750 per semester.

Any high school graduate in Brunswick County who earned at least a 2.3 unweighted GPA is eligible to enroll at BCC free of cost. The student must enroll within four semesters of graduating, have completed a FAFSA application to identify other sources of financial aid, and be a U.S. Citizen to be accepted.

Most students learn about the program from high school faculty or staff members, according to BCC’s fall 2019 Brunswick Guarantee analysis. Of the students awarded the scholarship, a majority graduated from South and West Brunswick High School; 10 of the 111 recipients in fall 2019 came from non-public schools.

Brunswick County gives BCC a $50,000 annual payment to cover administrative and marketing costs associated with the program. With tuition and book reimbursements, the 2019-2020 total cost to the county will equal more than $256,600.

Learn more about the Brunswick Guarantee.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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