RCCC, Wingate in new partnership

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

SALISBURY — Associate degree graduates of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College can earn a bachelor’s at Wingate University for $2,500 per year or less, thanks to a new partnership between the two institutions. The Gateway Scholarship was announced Monday by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College President Dr. Carol S. Spalding and Wingate University Provost Dr. Jeff Frederick.

“We are thrilled to partner with Wingate to open the door for our students to attend this excellent private university,” Spalding said in a news release. “Thanks to Wingate’s visionary leadership and generous transfer agreement, we continue to meet students where they are and help them reach their goals.”

Wingate University President Rhett Brown, who was unable to attend the ceremony, but had earlier signed the documents, said the partnership will help students clear the hurdles that can slow them down — whether it’s the cost of higher education or worries that classes won’t transfer.

The hope is that the Gateway Scholarship will help the state close its educational-attainment gap. According to the nonprofit MyFutureNC, 67 percent of jobs across the state require a postsecondary degree or high-quality credential, but only 49 percent of North Carolinians ages 25 to 44 have that level of education. The most recent reports from Carolina Demography show that in Rowan County, 40 percent of residents have a degree or credential, and just 19 percent hold a bachelor’s or higher. In Cabarrus, 56 percent have a degree or credential, while 29 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“We believe private-public partnerships like this one between Wingate and RCCC are a critical part of reaching the state’s workforce goals. As of last year, North Carolina was still 31,000 graduates short of where we need to be to reach 2 million by 2030,” Brown said. “It will take all of us working together to make higher education more accessible.”

The Gateway Scholarship can be applied to traditional in-person classes at Wingate or to the University’s bachelor of liberal studies online program. To help Gateway scholars stay on track, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Wingate University will offer collaborative academic advising, financial aid counseling and career counseling. The two institutions plan to continue their partnership to develop a Doctor of Pharmacy program articulation agreement for Rowan-Cabarrus students.

Funding to help bring students’ out-of-pocket annual tuition costs at Wingate down to $2,500 or less includes federal aid, the North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship and support from generous donors.

To learn more about the Gateway Scholarship, email Valerie Graham at v.graham@wingate.edu, or call 704-233-8103. To learn more about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).