Rowan-Cabarrus Community College responds to Obama plan for free classes

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College responds to Obama plan for free classes

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Rowan-Cabarrus Community College:

Community colleges received a lot of attention last week with President Obama's announcement to eliminate tuition for students in certain community college programs. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was pleased to learn of increased attention on community colleges and the emphasis on decreasing costs for students.

"I firmly believe in public higher education. Access to affordable degrees, diplomas and certificates is paramount to improving our region's quality of life," said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

About 67 percent of the Rowan-Cabarrus student population receives Pell Grants from the federal government, bringing $16.5 million of federal funds into the community. Additionally, because these funds are grants, they do not need to be repaid, and the funds are largely spent in the local community.

"Ultimately, education affects your income and provides increased security against unemployment," said Spalding. "It's worth your time and money to get more education."

Rowan-Cabarrus tuition is low at only $72.00 per credit hour – or about $2,000 per year for a full course load.

"North Carolina's community colleges are national leaders in promoting student access, affordable tuition and establishing clear higher education and career pathways – all key tenets of the President's proposal," said NC Community College System President, Dr. Scott Ralls. "We also know that getting students in the door is only the first step. Getting them across the graduation stage with a meaningful credential and into the workplace is the ultimate goal.  A commitment to success as well as access requires a commitment not just to low tuition, but also to quality instructors, well-equipped labs, classrooms and other resources that our state and national leaders will also have to weigh when considering the full equation."

"Increased access is important but we also have to have focus on student success, which means quality faculty to ensure those students who gain access receive the best education possible. With North Carolina faculty pay ranked near the bottom in the Southeast, we must address this issue at the state level," said Spalding.

At the national level, the College is represented by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) which has enthusiastically welcomed President Obama's proposal.

"College costs are a major concern for community college students. Though our sector provides the most affordable entry into higher education, our institutions also serve the neediest students," said AACC President and CEO Dr. Walter G. Bumphus. Dr. Bumphus visited the College just last week to speak to College and community leaders.

President Obama's proposal appropriately recognizes that states, institutions, and students all have roles to play in increasing student success in higher education. AACC looks forward to working with the administration as it further develops the specifics of its proposal, particularly around issues involving state, institutional and program eligibility for the proposed grants.

Rowan-Cabarrus tuition is set at the state level and all tuition dollars are sent directly to the state, not kept by the College. The College does, however, work hard to keep fees as low as possible, reassessing and sometimes lowering these technology and supply fees whenever possible.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit

or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The college is currently registering students for classes that begin in mid-March.