GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — College is expensive, and North Carolina A&T State University understands that.
School leaders have set aside money from the Cares Act to make a direct difference for their undergrad students.
It’s the Barnes & Noble College First Day Complete Program.
NCA&T partnered with them to provide scholarship money for books over the course of two years.
Students touring the campus Tuesday said news of this program is inching them closer to selecting the university.
“I wanted to go to one of the most well-known HBCUs. So, I wanted to head towards A&T,” said Isaiah Bass, a potential student from Tennessee.
For rising senior from Kentucky, Constance Saulnerond, a sense of belonging is what she’s seeking for herself.
“I feel like I can belong at an HBCU versus a PWI (predominantly white institution),” Saulnerond said.
While that’s what brought these out-of-staters to campus, the new program is a huge factor in selling them on it.
“Yes, it definitely will drive my decision,” Bass said.
Every undergraduate gets free textbooks for the next two years.
“It’s stated that over 50 percent of students said their grades would have been better if they would’ve had their books on or before the first day of classes,” said Angela Peterson, NCA&T Campus Enterprises associate vice-chancellor.
This is huge because some books cost upwards of $200.
To give some perspective, Collegeboard.org estimates students in the U.S. pay an average of $1,200 a year for textbooks.
Which serves as a huge savings for students who are from a different state.
“Out-of-state tuition will be like around $33,000. On top of that you have housing, then books,” Bass said.
Both Saulnerond and Bass want to save as much as they can as they both have plans to head towards law school after undergrad.
Saulnerond said the program along with the campus feel is helping her make final decision on a new home.
“Just walking around here, even when it was pouring down raining, it still felt like this was the campus for me. It felt like home,” Saulnerond said.
University officials said they are still putting the final touches on how the transaction will work for students going to get books, but they ensure the process will be as simple as possible and be accessible to all undergrad students.
At the end of the two-year pilot, officials will reassess and see how they can continue serving students in this way.