FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville State University is offering free summer tuition to 1,400 students in an effort to help them stay on track for graduation without going into debt.
So far, university officials say a little more than 1,200 students, who qualify, have accepted the offer and are enrolled in the first summer session free of charge.
Chancellor Darrell Allison announced the summer scholarship program in April. The program provides up to two free courses along with free room and board.
Fayetteville native Michael Jackson has heavily relied on grants and scholarships to afford his pursuit of an English degree from FSU. "I come from, you know, a poor family. I'm not first generation, but it's still paying for my tuition through scholarships and grants."
The CARES Act is funding FSU's Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (H.E.E.R.F.) with $4.7 million. Chancellor Allison and other administration leaders say this summer program will help up to 1,400 students per summer session.
Dr. Monica Leach, the Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at FSU, says this program will go on for the next three summers.
"The goal of this funding is to really put it back into the hands of the students and ensure their success," Leach said.
In a press release, FSU officials say that "if an undergrad can complete 30 credits toward graduation in an academic year, it dramatically improves their chances of graduating on time."
That press release goes on to say that the program "covers the cost of two courses, textbook rental, room and board (meals), depending upon the eligibility of the student."
Jackson says he's taking two classes for the first summer session, which started this week. He intends to graduate May 2022 and says this program will help him stay on track.
"It's a relief, you know, I'm not going to go... my whole goal was to not go in debt. And so far, since being here, I've only, maybe gone $3,000 in debt," Jackson.