Under a new initiative, students in low-income households who graduate from any high school in Forsyth County will be able to attend Forsyth Technical Community College free of charge thanks to a program funded primarily through a four-year, $870,000 grant by BB&T Corp.
Officials with the Winston-Salem Alliance, Forsyth Tech, and the City of Winston-Salem announced the initiative, called the Winston-Salem College Guarantee, on November 13.
The “Hope and Opportunity” scholarships will cover tuition, books, and fees as well as other expenses if necessary, such as transportation, child-care, and more. Scholarships will be available for students who graduate in the high school classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 and who live in households with an income of 80 percent or less of the average median income of the county.
Officials estimate that it will assist 2,550 students. Mayor Allen Joines says “this program has the potential to significantly reduce poverty in our community. It will enable underprivileged students to acquire two-year technical degrees in such areas as plumbing, electrical, medical technologies, aviation maintenance, and others that offer good salaries, without the debt of college loans.”
Janet N. Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech, called the BB&T grant an “incredible gift.” “This initiative will create opportunities for students to attend Forsyth Tech who might not have otherwise been able to attend. The donation also fits our mission at Forsyth Tech of being a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives, and transforming communities.”
The BB&T grant will be combined with other resources, including federal Pell grants, to ensure that all students who qualify can attend Forsyth Tech.
The program addresses the Winston-Salem Alliance’s strategic initiatives of interrupting the cycle of intergenerational poverty and of boosting education so that 65 percent of the adults in Forsyth County between the ages of 25 and 55 have an associate’s degree or higher.
More details about the Hope and Opportunity scholarships will be forthcoming.