This year's North Carolina high school graduates will be able to go to Forsyth Technical Community College for free this fall through a public-private partnership just unveiled by the school.

The tuition offer is available to any class of 2021 graduates in the state, regardless of financial need. The plan also includes money for books and supplies. For now, it's a one-time offer. But Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs says she wants to keep it going for future classes. 

“It is our great hope that we will find ways to continue to support this program,” she says. “This is where we have to start, but we will never stop working hard to find partnerships and ways to sustain this college commitment.”

Spriggs says the college's current enrollment is about 7,300 students, a figure that's rebounded a bit after a dip during the pandemic. She hopes the financial offer will lure enough students to reach the 8,000 mark.

Tricia McManus, superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, says the plan is perfect for graduates who haven't yet figured out a college game plan.

”I hope students that take advantage are those that may have just been going ‘I'm not sure what my next step is, I'm not sure if I'm going to college,'” she says. “And now they're going ‘Actually, now I know what my next step is — I'm going to go Forsyth Tech and start my college degree.”

Money for the program is coming from sources including private-sector sponsorships, local and state government funding, and federal stimulus assistance.

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