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SCC Unveils Bold Initiative to Propel Degree Attainment in Spartanburg County

February 16, 2024 by Colton Grace | Homenews | 2024news

An SCC graduate stands with her young daughter.
An SCC graduate stands next to her young daughter.

Spartanburg Community College (SCC) is taking innovative steps to boost enrollment in higher education and workforce training as part of Movement 2030, an unprecedented community-led initiative in Spartanburg County to promote economic mobility.  

Through an initial strategic investment of $1.3 million, SCC will increase the capacity of its dual enrollment program, establish new pilot programs to encourage degree completion, and re-engage Spartanburg County’s large population of adults with unfinished degrees.

"We are excited to be one of the partners implementing the goals of Movement 2030 to expand access to affordable, high-quality education and workforce training for Spartanburg County students," said Dr. Stacey Obi, Vice President of Strategic Innovation at SCC. “By ensuring that individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and situations have access to the support resources they need to succeed in college, we can help to build a brighter future for our community.”

Movement 2030 is a community-wide initiative, led by the Spartanburg Academic Movement, that unites philanthropic individuals and organizations, education and faith-based institutions, and businesses to advance economic mobility throughout Spartanburg County.

One of the initiative’s goals is that 70% of Spartanburg County’s high school graduates attain a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. As the county’s largest higher education institution, SCC is uniquely positioned to help achieve this goal.

Dual enrollment programs enable high school students to take college courses and earn credit towards a degree and are associated with an increased likelihood of college enrollment and completion, as well as decreased tuition costs. Through this investment, SCC will double the size of its dual enrollment program to serve 2,500 students by 2030.

The investment will also support dual enrollment-specific success coaches at the College, establish gap funding for dual-enrollment students at risk of stopping out, and ensure transportation is available for students from area high schools to SCC for their classes. 

In Spartanburg County, fewer than half of the students who enroll in a higher education institution complete their degree. A recent nationwide survey found that half of community college students who stopped out of their classes in Fall 2023 cited issues balancing work schedules with class times, a seven percent increase over the previous year. 37 percent said they could no longer afford their programs while 27 percent stated they simply lost the motivation to persist.

To address the issue of degree completion, this investment will support new pilot programs at the College that will improve the quality and capacity of academic advising and tutoring, promote and ensure the availability of resources to students, and provide training to faculty and staff. These completion support initiatives will also closely track indicators of impact for opportunities to scale through further investment in the future.

Spartanburg County has approximately 47,000 county residents aged 25 and older who have unfinished degrees. In 2021-2022, SCC’s free tuition initiative drove a 66 percent increase in the number of students aged 25 and older, showcasing a desire among this population to be re-engaged in their pursuit of higher education and workforce training opportunities.

To do so, SCC will create and expand adult education programs specifically tailored to allow adults to complete their unfinished degree or certificate while navigating work schedules, issues with childcare, and other barriers to completion. 

Finally, emergency aid funds will provide critical support for students in need, preventing financial hardship from turning into academic setbacks.