Recent high school graduates in Orange and Durham counties who choose Durham Technical Community College can save even more money on their college education with the Durham Tech Promise scholarship.

The scholarship provides eligible students up to $1,000 a year for two years. The funds are first applied towards the student’s tuition and fees, which can virtually cut the cost of tuition in half for a full-time student with a 12-hour course load.

Now, students in both curriculum and continuing education programs may be eligible for the Durham Tech Promise. All interested students need to enroll at Durham Tech within a year of earning their high school equivalency or diploma from any Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City public high school or Durham County high school.

Carolina Sierra, a Cedar Ridge High School graduate, said having the scholarship has helped ease any financial burden she may have felt otherwise.

“It has impacted me tremendously and helps me not be so stressed about how I am going to afford certain things,” she said. “It also makes me more motivated to keep up with my studies, obtain good grades, and push myself. In my eyes, it’s like an award for all my hard work in my academic career.”

Sierra said she has been able to use her excess funds to purchase books, school supplies, and a laptop.

In-state students in a curriculum program must take at least six credit hours. There is no credit hour requirement for out-of-state students due to the higher tuition rate for those students.

Curriculum students do not need to apply for the scholarship. The Financial Aid office will contact eligible candidates upon reviewing their student records.

Leslye Sierra, who is pursuing her Associate in Science degree, learned of the scholarship when a Durham Tech liaison came to her high school, East Chapel Hill High School.

“Having the Promise scholarship has provided me with not only financial stability but with motivation to keep moving forward in my studies,” she said.

There are 20 continuing education programs that qualify, including Carpentry, Cosmetology, Culinary, Electrical Line Technician, and Paramedic. Students in these programs will have to apply for the scholarship when they register, which must be within a year of concluding their high school education.

“Durham Tech aims to provide students with the education needed to achieve economic mobility,” said Dr. Christine Kelly-Kleese, Vice President of Student Engagement, Development, and Support. “The Durham Tech Promise supports that goal by making attending Durham Tech even more affordable.”

The Durham Tech Promise scholarship, formerly ConnectFunds, launched in January and is funded by the Board of Commissioners in Orange and Durham counties.

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