In 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the Finish Line Grants program, a wraparound program to help learners in North Carolina navigate financial emergencies. The program, an element of the state’s Job Ready initiative, was designed to improve credential attainment rates by limiting unexpected financial burdens that may prevent a student from completing a postsecondary degree or credential. Finish Line Grants can be used for a variety of expenses, including medical bills, car repairs and even tuition and fees in the case of an unexpected financial hardship.
There are several requirements that students must meet to receive a Finish Line Grant. Learners must be enrolled in the North Carolina Community College system, be in good academic standing, and have completed at least 50 percent of their degree or credential program. Students in short-term programs are often eligible as well, depending on local restrictions. Upon submitting all documentation required by the program and local partners, students may receive a $1,000 grant, and students are able to receive a grant once per semester. Grant funds are distributed to recipients within three business days, providing an efficient and timely measure for learners in North Carolina to address circumstances that may significantly hinder their postsecondary attainment success.
The grants are operated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and are administered locally through a partnership between community colleges and local workforce development boards, which jointly review and distribute funding. Up to $7 million was authorized to fund the grant program in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years using Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I funds.
Policy In Action
In the Finish Line Grant program’s first year, all of the state’s 58 community colleges and 23 local workforce development boards partnered to make Finish Line Grants available to students in their communities. So far, over 1,700 grants totaling more than $1.1 million have been awarded to help North Carolina community college students navigate unexpected financial hardship and continue making progress toward completion of their postsecondary degrees or credentials.
Website: Finish Line Grants
Press Release: July 12, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions: Finish Line Grants Q&A as of July 23, 2019
Fact Sheet: Finish Line Grants: Building an Educated and Skilled Workforce
Website: Finish Line Grant Expenditures
Last Updated January 2020