BRUNSWICK COUNTY — The Brunswick Community College system provided Brunswick County Commissioners with information on college facilities and the progress of the Brunswick Guarantee during a special luncheon Monday.
The Brunswick Guarantee, funded by the county, is a scholarship program that allows Brunswick County high school students who graduate with a minimum 2.3 GPA to attend the community college free of charge. The scholarship not only covers tuition and fees, but up to $750 for books.
Though only recently approved in March 2017, in the 2017 fall semester, Denise Houchen-Clagett, associate vice president of student affairs for the college, said the scholarship assisted 26 women and 36 men.
Houchen-Clagett said the college is expecting a higher number of applicants and scholarship recipients this fall, as the college has been pushing and promoting the program in local high schools.
College President Susanne Adams said the county awards the college about $200,000 annually for the Brunswick Guarantee program, about $50,000 of which is used for program marketing and administrative fees. The remaining money is parceled out to scholarship recipients. The average cost of tuition for a local student attending the college is about $1,100 per semester — not including books.
During the meeting, commissioners also received an update on the college’s facility projects, including the Southport Center and allied health buildings’ renovation and expansion.
Renovation and expansion of the allied health facilities, which will house the college’s six allied health programs at the Bolivia campus, is scheduled to begin in November 2018 and take about 18 months. At the Southport Center, the old Lord Street Gym has been demolished and a memorial is planned to be erected in the area to recognize the gym’s history.
Lois Smith, the college’s vice president of academic and student affairs, said new programs coming to the college include a night offering of the college’s nursing program starting in spring 2019. She said the college is continuing to investigate some additional program areas such as physical therapist assistant, dental assistant and lab tech.
Smith said one of the college’s biggest items of business is preparing for accreditation, which will be taking place in 2019.
Robbie Allen, the college’s athletic director, mentioned that the college is looking into expanding its athletic programs to possibly include women’s softball, men’s and women’s soccer, and cross country.
Commissioner Marty Cooke said he believes the annual meeting with the college is a “good thing” and keeps the county updated on college programs and activities in the county.
The college and county’s relationship has “come a long way,” Commissioner Pat Sykes said.
“I think we’re closer now, we know their path,” she said. “The Guarantee is such an asset that will hopefully continue to make the college even better.”
Reporter Makenzie Holland can be reached at 910-343-2371 or Makenzie.Holland@StarNewsOnline.com.