Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program expands to SCC

by Jul 24, 2018COMMUNITY sgadugi

CSTEP: Officials from Southwestern Community College (SCC), UNC-Chapel Hill and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) recently met on SCC’s Jackson Campus to formalize their partnership on the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program. Shown (left-right) front row – James Bradley, EBCI Secretary of Education; Rebecca Egbert, C-STEP Program Director; Deanne Oppermann, SCC’s Science Department Chair; and Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC; back row – Dr. Thom Brooks, executive vice president for Instruction and Student Services for SCC; Dr. Barbara Putman, dean of Arts and Sciences for SCC; Renissa McLaughlin, director of EBCI Youth and Adult Education; and Shane Hale, C-STEP program coordinator. (SCC photo)


SYLVA – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) and Southwestern Community College (SCC) in Sylva are partnering to increase the number of students transferring to and graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill. SCC will be the 11th community college to partner with C-STEP and Carolina.

Through C-STEP, low- and moderate-income high school and community college students who enroll in one of the program’s partner colleges are guaranteed admission to UNC-Chapel Hill if they are first admitted to and successfully complete the community college portion of the program with at least a 3.2 GPA.

“Every day we have the chance to see our students grow and challenge themselves as they build successful lives,” said Dr. Don Tomas, Southwestern Community College president. “The launch of C-STEP at Southwestern Community College will create even more opportunities for our students, their families and our community.”

Now in its 12th year, C-STEP was launched with the support of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in an effort to enable more community college students to transfer to and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill. Almost 800 transfer students enter UNC-Chapel Hill each year, about 33 percent from North Carolina community colleges.

“North Carolina community college transfer students are an amazing group of scholars,” said Rebecca Egbert, C-STEP program director. “Working with Southwestern Community College students as they prepare to come to Carolina and once they’ve arrived in Chapel Hill will be a privilege. These students enrich our campus with their experience, diligence and intelligence.”

Students who participate in C-STEP agree to earn an appropriate associate degree at their partner community college and participate actively in the program, which offers students special events, advising and transition and support services both at their home college and at UNC-Chapel Hill. The program also provides transition and support services once students have enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and are pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

Among the communities served by SCC is the Qualla Boundary, home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Members of EBCI participate in many SCC programs and have partnered with SCC and Western Carolina University to develop the Oconaluftee Institute of Cultural Arts on the Qualla Boundary, where students come to study and preserve the artistic traditions of the EBCI community.

“Education is a priority for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and generations of tribal leaders have worked toward that goal,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed. “By collaborating with C-STEP and Southwestern Community College, our students will benefit for years to come.”

C-STEP currently serves almost 845 students; 652 of those have already enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and 482 have graduated. The remaining students are expected to enroll after completing their community college courses. As of 2018, the average C-STEP graduate GPA is 3.0. The overall graduation rate is 81 percent.

Other C-STEP partners include: Alamance Community College, Cape Fear Community College, Carteret Community College, Central Carolina Community College, Craven Community College, Durham Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Robeson Community College, Sandhills Community College and Wake Technical Community College.