N.C. A&T Mobilizes Historic Investments in Student Success, COVID Recovery

By Staff Report / 07/08/2021 Academic Affairs

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 8, 2021) - In recognition of how significantly many of its students, their families and communities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is making a major strategic investment into a series of initiatives over the next three years that will significantly lower students’ cost of attendance.

The university recently announced the first two of those student-success initiatives – a program that will make textbooks free to undergraduates for the next two years and a scholarship effort that provides each participating student six hours of free tuition this summer. Some 3,800 students are taking advantage of that scholarship program. Other initiatives are being launched that will potentially have impacts just as large.

Chief among them is a major investment in emergency aid, which will be made available in grants to students in demonstrated need. Those funds, which do not have to be repaid, could be used to cover everything from shortfalls in support for living expenses owing to income lost during the pandemic to resolving financial “holds” on student accounts that have prevented them from registering for classes.

Additional funds have been set aside for merit- and need-based tuition support, respectively called the Aggie Pride Scholarships and Aggie Pride Grants. Many N.C. A&T students represent the first generation in their families to attend college and often come from modest means. While the A&T student body is consistently high achieving – entering students this fall are projected to have an average GPA in excess of 3.7 – many often need financial aid or work one or more jobs to pay for their education.

The funds fueling these investments largely come from the Higher Education Emergency

Relief Fund (HEERF), part of the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security or CARES Act, and are aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on colleges and universities.

Students in need should read the Higher Education Emergency Funding Criteria on the A&T website and contact the A&T Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for more information on any of the investments.

“These historic investments have been carefully planned for maximum impact in supporting the academic and personal success of our students,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “These funds will help enable them to move with confidence through their educational experience at A&T, and reduce the financial anxiety that the COVID pandemic has triggered for many college students over the past year.

“We are grateful to our congressional partners for their foresight in providing these funds, which are now being thoughtfully used for exactly the purposes for which they were intended.”

Other areas of HEERF investment include:

  • Graduate Student Support
  • Student Work-Study, supporting part-time campus employment
  • Housing Scholarships, a $250 award for every student in University Housing
  • Dining Scholarships, a $250 award for every student selecting a meal plan
  • Aggies at the Goal Line, a program that helps former students who left the university without graduating return and complete their degrees

Of particular note is the housing scholarship investment. As of July 1, the North Carolina Council of State has discontinued its moratorium on renter eviction. Students who lost employment during the pandemic or needed to send monies home to help support family needs may be behind on rent and facing loss of housing. The scholarship monies will help such students enter the fall term with certainty surrounding their living arrangements.  

“Through no fault of their own, many college students have experienced severe impact on their educational progress due to the pandemic,” said Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Robert Pompey. “As a society and as a university, we cannot afford to have the next generation of highly educated, well-prepared graduates slowed or sidelined on their path toward graduation and entering the workforce and further compound the negative results of the pandemic. That would hinder the nation’s economic and social recovery from COVID.

“We are doing our part at North Carolina A&T to invest these critical funds to make sure that doesn't happen.”   

Media Contact Information: ucomm@ncat.edu

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