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Learn and Grow, Tuition-Free, at MTCC

May 25, 2021

Marion- McDowell Technical Community College introduced a new program this week that effectively eliminates one of the most significant barriers to college attendance: cost.

The Learn and Grow Scholarship Program, which begins immediately, will eliminate tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year for all current, returning, and new curriculum students—Everyone who takes at least six credit hours of instruction and follows the necessary admission steps!2021 Graduate Madison Morgan with Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President

In addition, free tuition and fees will be available for selected continuing education classes, such as Nurse Aide I, Phlebotomy, Healthcare Billing and Coding, Esthetics, Cosmetology, Basic Law Enforcement, and Paramedic/EMT Training.

“Our community colleges are key to recovery efforts,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President. “With the help of federal and state pandemic relief funds, we can provide truly open access to anyone who wants to enroll to prepare for a career or transfer to a senior institution.”

The program leverages Governor Cooper’s announcement earlier this week about the NC Longleaf Commitment which allows for grants for most of the 2021 North Carolina high school graduates to attend an NC community college in the Fall 2021 semester.

While tuition and fees at community colleges in North Carolina have historically been among the lowest in the nation, the Learn and Grow Scholarship Program at McDowell Tech is historically unparalleled and offers a bold, universal approach to higher education for all residents in McDowell County and throughout the region.

“Our goal is to improve college access and reduce barriers to student success. This is an equity-focused initiative that will allow all the opportunity to improve their lives by gaining knowledge and skills for today’s economy.” Merritt said. “We have a unique mixture of federal, state and local grants, scholarships, endowments and private dollars we will leverage to initiate the new program for the 2021-22 academic year.”

Students who complete Admissions Steps 1-4 described in the “New Students” section of the McDowell Tech homepage by July 15 will receive priority consideration to be awarded aid by the first day of class in Fall 2021. Applications will be accepted beyond this date as well. College staff will be available throughout the summer to answer questions on both the Learn and Grow Scholarship Program, as well as the admissions process.

Selected continuing education classes also start this summer. Contact Tabitha Buff at 828-659-0465 or to learn more.

Interest and demand for the program is expected to be high. Students who might have otherwise left high school-bound for out-of-town four-year colleges and universities or who may have been waitlisted or deferred by the college of their choice will likely find this program particularly appealing, as will students with limited financial resources for attending college of any kind. Awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Interested individuals should visit the college’s website at for more information and links to required application procedures in the “New Students” section. Questions on financial aid or admissions may be directed to or .

“Our staff members in Student Services are here to help students navigate the admission and application process,” said Dr. Penny Cross, Vice-President of Learning and Student Services. “Our summer hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. For those who can’t come to the campus, we also have virtual hours from 3:00 to 5:00, Monday through Thursday using the Zoom app.”

A link for the Zoom Virtual Sessions is located on the college website at .


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