Dare County to fund COA scholarships for locals

By on September 13, 2019

From left: County Manager Bobby Outten, Board Chairman Bob Woodard, COA Foundation President Douglas Gardner and COA Foundation Executive Director Amy Alcocer. (Michelle Wagner)

Further cementing the relationship between the county and the college, the Dare County Commissioners recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the non-profit College of The Albemarle (COA) Foundation establishing a scholarship program for local high school graduates who enroll at COA – one expected to earmark $250,000 in county money annually toward tuition.

“The scholarship program will serve our local children and their families,” said Commissioner Chairman Bob Woodard before signing the memorandum. “It will save them thousands of dollars – literally thousands of dollars.”

While a $250,000 allocation was made for the current fiscal year, Dare County Manager Bobby Outten said the county intends to continue funding the “Dare Guarantee Program” at the same level in future years. Under the terms of the agreement, eligible students must be Dare County residents who enroll at COA within 16 months of graduating from a public, private or home school high school program located within the county.

Woodard said that community college was a great place to start a college career, noting that “I can name multitudes and multitudes of friends and successful leaders throughout our community and throughout this state who started their career at COA.”

“I’m tired of those kids going further south to Cape Fear [Community College],” added. “We are going to bring them to Dare County along with our kids… we are going to grow this county. This is huge for Dare County and the College of the Albemarle.”

Those enrolled as full-time curriculum students or in a workforce development program at the Dare campus would be given first priority when it comes to scholarship funds, according to the memorandum. Second priority would go to students enrolled at any other COA campus.

In order to continue eligibility, students must complete a COA scholarship application and remain in good academic standing with a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average and completion of at least 67 percent of credit hours per semester.

COA Foundation President Douglas Gardner commended Woodard and the Dare County Board of Commissioners for “offering this generous scholarship. This is the essence of what government does best for its citizens – affording them the opportunity to improve themselves through education.”

Gardner also stated that the $250,000 appropriation for scholarships would also serve as leverage that could potentially bring in an additional $1 million or more in state monies based on North Carolina’s funding formula for community colleges.

In his remarks Woodard cited improvements that are on the horizon for COA’s Dare County campus – such as the Twiford Road campus being earmarked as the future home to the dual enrollment program and the new classroom facilities slated for the U.S. 64 campus.

“We are going to grow this college and make Dare County a bright future for our kids,” Woodard concluded. “Folks, all this is about is educating our kids and if don’t step up to the plate, nobody would. And our board is committed to do that.”


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