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PCC Graduate Erica Ways shared with Governor Cooper and other guests how emergency funds assisted her and will benefit future students in need

Published Thursday, August 9, 2018
by Elizabeth Townsend

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•	Erica Ways (2018 Graduate of PCC Associate Degree Nursing Program) speaking; Dr. Peter Hans, President of the North Carolina Community College System (left); Governor Cooper (right)
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Person County Campus on Wednesday, August 8 to promote the state’s Finish Line Grant program.

Finish Line Grants seek to keep students on the path toward completing a college degree or credential, specifically if unforeseen financial emergencies become an obstacle.
•	Erica Ways with Governor Cooper
In a written statement, Piedmont Community College President Dr. Pamela Senegal noted, “Far too many of our students are steps away from finishing an academic program that will have a transformative effect on their lives, only to be derailed by an unexpected emergency, and forced to drop out. We now have a tool to help students handle unexpected, one time emergencies quickly and timely so that students can stay focused. The governor’s program addresses this need in a way that other funding sources do not.”

Qualifying students could receive up to $1,000 per semester for financial emergencies such as housing, medical needs, dependent care, and others.

During Governor Cooper’s visit, 2018 Piedmont Community College graduate Erica Ways shared how a smaller emergency fund, currently available through the PCC Foundation, allowed her to continue her own studies.

As a full-time student in PCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program, Erica was also working full-time and mothering four children. When the stress became too much, she fell behind on maintaining the basic necessities of her household.

•	Erica Ways with Dr. Hans“That is when my compassionate and supportive instructor, advised me of the [Pacer Emergency Fund] and encouraged me to apply. This is particularly characteristic of the faculty here at PCC, who go the extra mile by not only recognizing barriers, but assisting to eliminate them in the pursuit of academic success,” shared Erica with Governor Cooper and other honored guests.

She went on to say, “The scholarship allowed me to continue in the program when I was faced with the dilemma of continuing with my goal of becoming a nurse or quitting to work full-time and letting go of my aspirations.”

Erica also recognized that the Finish Line Grant program has the opportunity to assist more students with greater needs, allowing others to overcome barriers, earn their degree and “become successful and contributing constituents to this great state of North Carolina.”

Dr. Peter Hans, President of the North Carolina Community College System, said, “The impact of the Finish Line Grant will not be measured in dollars, but in the lives changed.”

The new grant program will be available to PCC students during the Fall 2018 semester. To qualify, students must be in good academic standing and have completed 75% of their degree or credential program.

Photos:

• Erica Ways (2018 Graduate of PCC Associate Degree Nursing Program) speaking; Dr. Peter Hans, President of the North Carolina Community College System (left); Governor Cooper (right)
• Erica Ways with Governor Cooper
• Erica Ways with Dr. Hans