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Three PCC Continuing Education Students Receive SECU Foundation Scholarships

With Sidette Boyce Brown (right), director of PCC Health Care Programs for Continuing Education, on hand for the presentation, SECU representative Jeff Nelson (left) awarded scholarships to Pitt students Te'quisha Farrow, Temika Teel and Juan Aguirre, left to right.

GREENVILLE—State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members—through their member-funded SECU Foundation—awarded $750-SECU Continuing Education Scholarships to three Pitt Community College students last week.

Receiving scholarships on June 23 were Greenville’s Juan Aguirre and Temika Teel and Ayden’s Te’quisha Farrow. Teel and Farrow are enrolled in the college’s EKG Monitor Technician course while Aguirre is a Nursing Assistant II student.

With certifications and credentials becoming increasingly important to employers, Sidette Boyce Brown, director of PCC Health Care Programs for Continuing Education, says scholarships are more important than ever before.

“The SECU Foundation’s financial generosity has allowed our students to move one step closer to their goal of achieving a stackable credential/certification, which could lead to gainful employment,” Brown said.

Started in 2013, SECU’s scholarship program focuses on assisting North Carolina's unemployed and underemployed citizens, military veterans, and members of the N.C. National Guard who are seeking short-term job training for new careers or retraining to advance their current job skills. Scholarship funding is applied to tuition and other expenses associated with eligible programs of study through the N.C. Community College System's Back-to-Work Program and continuing education courses.

Without scholarships provided by organizations like the SECU Foundation, Brown says many students may miss out on educational opportunities that could profoundly impact their lives. Scholarships, she said, are “crucial for bridging the gap” between the increasing cost of tuition and what people can afford to pay.

“A large majority of our continuing education students are looking for credentials to return to work due to a layoff, looking for a new career field, or looking to increase their current skillset for better employment,” Brown said. “While students may see the importance of increasing their skillsets, the reality of paying for their education can sometimes be daunting or impossible.”

Brown says the SECU scholarships that Aguirre, Teel and Farrow received this month will help them pay for a variety of educational expenses, including tuition, books, fees, course supplies, certification exam fees and uniforms.

“Unlike many scholarships that specify tuition and books only, the SECU funding is allowed to be used at the student’s discretion, once all PCC obligations have been fulfilled,” Brown said. “Any additional funding left over from the scholarship is refunded to the student. In prior semesters, we have seen past recipients of the scholarship utilize the funding for additional courses or certifications.”

With a $435,000-commitment to Continuing Education scholarships and SECU Foundation’s annual $580,000 “People Helping People” Community College Scholarships, the organization now provides more than $1 million each year to the N.C. Community College System.