Pitt Community College receives grant to recruit and retain more rural students

WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Pitt Community College (PCC) just received a big boost to help with recruiting more rural students.

According to PCC officials, the U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the school a $1 million grant to the college as part of a national effort to boost college enrollment and completion rates among students in rural areas.

According to PCC Grants Management Director Jamie Mitchell, the grant provides 100% of the funding the college needs to power an innovative project aimed at transforming the postsecondary landscape for rural students in Pitt County and surrounding areas.

“PCC’s RPED program recognizes that a clear career goal, coupled with a strategic academic plan, is pivotal for student success,” she said. “… The aim is to equip students with essential college readiness strategies.”

Mitchell says the effort will reach more than 2,000 rural middle and high school students annually.

The Department of Education announced last month that it had presented a total of $44.5 million to 22 of the nation’s higher education institutions through its Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development (RPED) Grant Program.

According to the college, PCC was one of only eight community colleges to receive an award and one of just two in North Carolina, along with McDowell Technical Community College in Marion.

PCC President Lawrence Rouse says the college’s RPED program will also employ an academic coach to provide academic counseling and connect participants with the wraparound support services they need for success on and off campus.

“Understanding the importance of holistic development, our RPED program focuses on building self-confidence, perseverance, critical thinking skills, and self-responsibility essential for long-term success,” Rouse said. “It’s part of our commitment to empowering rural students for success by providing them with the tools and support they need to complete their academic and career journeys.”