DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some students heading to Durham Technical Community College this fall will have the opportunity to attend tuition-free for two school years.
The tuition-free initiative is a scholarship supplement to the North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant, which covers tuition based on family income.
According to the North Carolina Community College System, the Longleaf Commitment Grant provides incoming 2022 community college students in NC with funding to cover tuition and fees based on their expected family contribution to education.
The scholarship will provide students the ability to begin working toward future education or career goals without paying tuition, said J. B. Buxton, president of Durham Technical Community College.
"This provides an opportunity to start at college, whether you're thinking about a four-year university or you're looking to go straight into the workforce, we've got a range of programs to study that meet people's interests and goals," Buxton said. "And so, this provides not just an affordable, but a free first step in college, no matter what your long-term goals are."
The scholarship applies to first-time college students who will graduate, graduated from a North Carolina High School or achieved their high school equivalency in 2021 or 2022. Buxton says the students must enroll in at least six credit hours. Complete requirements for eligibility are listed on Durham Tech's website.
Students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2022 school year with an expected family contribution toward education falling at $15,000 or less.
"The most important thing is to complete the FAFSA - the federal financial aid form - to make sure you've got eligibility for the scholarship. But for a large number of students, this is going to be free," Buxton said.
According to Buxton, the local area provides many career opportunities which students can begin working toward at Durham Tech.
"Durham Tech provides a first step if you want to go on to four-year, but for others, the pathway to opportunity to enter into those jobs and careers," Buxton said.
Students wanting to enroll in programs or classes who might not be recent high school graduates or first-time college students may still be able to access affordable or free tuition.
"There is a lot of financial aid available through federal, state and county resources, and they should contact us and see what the financial aid package might look like for them," Buxton said. "They might find, in fact, that it's free for them as well, depending on their ability to contribute to their own education."