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At Southwestern Community College Governor Cooper Says There Needs To Be More NC Education Funding

Photo courtesy of Southwestern Community College
Governor Roy Cooper meets with Southwestern Community College students in Jackson County who recieved a Finish Line grant. The program has given $1.3 million to 58 community colleges in the state.

  Students at Southwestern Community College are hailing a grant program they say has helped them stay on track at school.


Abbie Turner is a mother of two in the physical therapy program at SCC. Turner lives in Mills River and says she drives over 500 miles a week to make it to classes and her clinical rotation for the program. All that driving took a toll on Tuner’s tires but it would cost hundreds of dollars to fix them - something that wasn’t in her budget.

 “You know financial obstacles have a way of coming at the most inconvenient times in your life,” says Turner, who is in her second year of the physical therapy assistant program.  “And when it’s just one thing after another after another you don’t really have a lot to consider, you don’t really have a lot to work with anymore.” 

Turner received the money to pay for her tires from the Finish Line grant program. Thirty-two-year-old Turner was able to share that story with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper when he visited the school this week. Andrew Allen, Megan Beck and Karenda Cooper also shared how they used the grant.


The program has given more than $1-million to 58 community colleges in the state.  At SCC about 100 students have received a total of $100,000. Each grant is a maximum of $1,000 dollars. The project is a partnership with the Southwestern Workforce Development Board.


On the day the governor visited Jackson County, a GOP-backed bill passed a senate committee that would send refund checks to state taxpayer’s from a larger than expected state surplus of more than $600 million dollars. Cooper called the measure a gimmick to pass Republican priorities, and says hearing the difference that $500 dollars or less can make at SCC makes him question Republicans who say the state doesn’t have any more money for education:

 “We can show that a little bit of money can go a long way. Over $600 million dollars what can that do? I think that people would rather see it put into students and education,” says Cooper. 

 The full NC Senate could vote on the tax refund bill as early as next week.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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