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Catawba College offers free classes for locals amid cornavirus shutdown

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Catawba College has created a new program intended to benefit students who are now facing economic hardship and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That program offers free classes, of which there are six. Each has a value of more than $2,400, and are worth three credit hours. The classes are all general curriculum, basic courses on topics like health science, psychology, sports management and entrepreneurship.

Catawba Dean of Students Jared Tice said this is an opportunity for high school students to do something while school facilities are closed until May 15 due to the pandemic.

“It was not in the works prior to COVID-19, and it’s direct impact on North Carolina and Rowan County,” Tice said. “It was a concept conceived on understanding that, especially high school students, are home right now.”

Catawba  also offers a free class per semester through its joint enrollment program. Catawba Cares removes some of the barriers for the joint enrollment programs for these courses, including transcript submissions, ACT or SAT scores if the tests had been taken and a letter of recommendation from a counselor. For Catawba Cares, students only need to submit unofficial transcripts.

The Catawba Cares courses will be available to a few groups:

  • All high school seniors who have been admitted to Catawba for Fall 2020.
  • All high school juniors and seniors in Rowan, Cabarrus, Davie, Davidson, Iredell or Stanly counties.
  • All college students in Rowan, Cabarrus, Davie, Davidson, Iredell or Stanly counties who attended another four-year college or university out of state and had an interest in attending Catawba College the last two years.

Tice said the program came together quickly after he asked if the college’s academic affairs department could offer some courses.

The college is compensating faculty teaching the courses and has agreed to purchase the textbooks for the courses as well. It has already admitted more than 50 students to the program.

“This is a very unique Catawba College offering that other institutions aren’t doing,” Tice said. “We’re grateful that we’ve had such a wonderful response so far.”

On Monday Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody told the Board of Education the district is encouraging students to take advantage of the courses.

The college’s Stay Local program allows high school and transfer students from those counties who earned at least a 3.5 GPA or transferred with 24 credit hours and have at least a 3.5 GPA, to receive 50% of tuition and fees cost of attending the college in scholarships and grants.

“Catawba has always been about access and opportunities,” Catawba President Brien Lewis said in a statement. “The ‘Stay Local’ Commitment is about ensuring that we provide access to 21st century learning opportunities for members of our host community.”

Tice said there is more news to come from Catawba about making it easier for students to get college credit, enroll and stay enrolled in the near future. Students can enroll online at www.catawba.edu/cares.

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