The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is expanding options for students who begin their college career at Sandhills Community College and continue their education at UNCP.
UNCP and Sandhills Community College have signed a partnership agreement for BraveStep, a co-admission program designed to increase access to a quality, affordable education ensuring student success.
Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings and Sandhills President Dr. John Dempsey signed a memorandum of agreement during a small ceremony at the Sandhills campus in Pinehurst on Thursday.
Dempsey noted the financial benefit for students who choose to take advantage of the new agreement.
“Sandhills is proud and honored to be part of the BraveStep program at UNCP. What a great way for us to join together to meet the educational needs of this area’s students. Can you imagine–a student receiving the Sandhills Promise Scholarship, then enrolling in the BraveStep program, and graduating from four years of college debt-free! This program is a great opportunity and a great asset to this part of North Carolina,” Dempsey said.
The Sandhill Promise Scholarship offers a full scholarship for two years immediately following high school graduation for residents of Moore and Hoke Counties who graduate from a public/private high school or registered home school having completed four dual enrollment courses at Sandhills. These students, if enrolled in the BraveStep program can take advantage of NC Promise Tuition Plan once they transition to UNC Pembroke as undergraduate students. NC Promise offers a tuition cost for in-state residents of just $500 per semester. With available scholarships and financial aid, eligible students could earn both degrees with little-to-no-debt upon graduation.
UNCP Board of Trustees Dr. Wiley Barrett and Pat Corso, former Trustee George Little and Interim Provost Zoe Locklear were among those in attendance.
Corso, currently chair of the UNCP Board of Trustees is a strong advocate for affordable education and the economic benefits of partnerships like this for the region.
“This latest partnership is an extension of Sandhills’ long-standing relationship with UNCP with regard to moving students forward in their college career. Sandhills is experiencing much growth with its nursing program to help fill the gap of the increasing need for nursing in this region, so this fits hand in glove with the BraveStep program at UNCP,” Corso said.
Qualified students who are selected as BraveStep students will be co-admitted to both institutions and can participate in North Carolina’s Reverse Transfer Program. Students can transfer into UNCP after completing at least 30 credit hours. This will allow them to obtain an associate degree from SCC with the credits they earn from UNCP.
Chancellor Cummings said the purpose of BraveStep is to create a bridge program which will create a pathway for success for prospective UNCP students. And subsequently offer the opportunities a four-year education can provide.
“In recent years, UNCP has expanded academic opportunities available to our students by creating Pathways to Success through partnerships with other colleges and universities,” Cummings said.
“Many of the pathways allow UNCP students to continue their education at other institutions, like the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, or the colleges of engineering and veterinary medicine at N.C. State University.
Equally important, and perhaps more impactful, are the pathways that lead to our university, like the one we are creating today.”
This co-admission partnership with our regional community colleges is designed to prepare students for the challenges of a four-year institution ensuring their successful transition and ultimate degree completion.
From day one, BraveStep students will be members of BraveNation as well as Sandhills Flyers community. They will have a UNCP student ID and access to all campus resources, programming and admission to athletic events. They will receive academic advising from both institutions through a collaborative model designed to provide support and guidance every step of the way.
This latest agreement comes with a long history of partnership between the two educational institutions. During his remarks, Cummings noted a common mission and strong relationship with Sandhills Community College marked by several articulation agreements already in place for accounting, business, criminal justice, early childhood, exercise and sport science and human resources.
“This is a partnership structured not around institutional silos but instead around our shared mission and commitment of changing lives through education throughout our state,” Cummings said.
Sandhills is the latest community college to sign a BraveStep agreement. UNCP has similar agreements with Robeson, Southeastern, Brunswick, Wayne and Richmond community colleges. BraveStep is one way UNCP continues to build pathways between public universities and community colleges to improve student outcomes, reduce financial burdens and maximize the public investment.
Feature photo: Sandhills Community College President Dr. John Dempsey, left, and UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings sign a BraveStep agreement during a small ceremony at Sandhills Community College on October 23, 2020.