The University announced the expansion of its Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, or C-STEP, funded by a $1.13 million grant — the largest donation in the program’s history — from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation at the Carolina Inn on Friday.
C-STEP will now partner with two more community colleges, Central Piedmont Community College and Guilford Technical Community College, raising the number of its current partnership colleges to 13. The program is also adding a new initiative, Pathways to STEM Success, which is specifically geared toward providing work and research opportunities for C-STEP students within STEM fields.
C-STEP was founded by the University in 2006 as a means to give more low-to-moderate income students the chance to transfer to UNC. According to the University's Friday press release, UNC targets students — either in high school or community college — whose household incomes are at or less than 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines for the program.
After applying for C-STEP, students are guaranteed admission to UNC under the condition that they complete an associate’s degree and maintain a 3.2 grade point average at one of the partner community colleges.
At Friday’s announcement event, Chancellor Carol Folt said since C-STEP’s first year, the program has amassed over 1,000 participants and maintains an 85 percent graduation rate for transfer students.
“So many of our students aspire to go on to a four-year college, and for them, Chapel Hill is like the ultimate in transfer options,” said Kimberly Gold, president of Robeson Community College, one of the University’s C-STEP partners. “But so many of them just don’t see that as an option for them, they don’t even think about it as being possible, and I think C-STEP gives them a great opportunity not only to see it as possible, but to help them actually make that transition.”