A Sumter-based technical college will be the first in South Carolina to provide free tuition for its eligible students
Central Carolina Technical College launched a new scholarship initiative this semester that provides the first two years tuition-free. “Carolina Scholars” is an economic development tool for existing and new industries and will afford expanded higher education opportunities to high school students in Clarendon, Kershaw Lee and Sumter counties.
Central Carolina Technical College president Dr. Tim Hardee told South Carolina Radio Network the program is possible through a partnership with the cities of Camden and Sumter as well as Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter county councils and various corporate sponsors.
“Like many other initiatives, it’s just a good idea unless you have some partners that are willing to financially support the programs,” Hardee said. The program will cost Central Carolina $250,000 each year, he said.
Students eligible for the scholarship must be in the graduating class of 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019, graduate from a private or public high school in Sumter, Kershaw, Clarendon or Lee counties and meet standard admission requirements.
A pilot initiative was introduced in 2011 and successfully ran through 2015, the school said. Enrollment numbers doubled during that span, Hardee said. “Our region of South Carolina is committed to joining the nationwide trend to provide a tuition-free higher education option for local high school students, and to have a trained and ready workforce for economic development in our four-county service area,” he added.