CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System and NC Community College System have been awarded a $552,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to support adults who want to earn college degrees, certificates, and other quality credentials.

North Carolina is one of six states chosen for the second cohort of Lumina’s Adult Promise effort, a partnership with the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

North Carolina’s project will involve the UNC System and NCCCS combining efforts to streamline data analysis of adult students and provide a unified source of information for them. The project will develop a one-stop source for adult students who are returning to complete a credential and those who are entering postsecondary education for the first time. Resources will include financial aid information tailored specifically to their needs, an automated chat bot to help answer advising and programmatic questions, and detailed tutorials to provide prior-learning-assessment training for adult learners, faculty, staff and administrators.

The three primary projects involved in the effort are:

  • Implementation of Finish First, a data tool created at Wake Technical Community College to identify degree and certificate completion pathways for adult students at community colleges. The funding will help Wake Tech evaluate results produced from early adopters of Finish First and allow the developers to enhance the tool for greater integration across the community college system.
  • Creation of a web portal focused on North Carolina adult learners, which will include adult student-specific content, including learning modules, financial aid information, digital tools for advising and content management, and details around credit for prior learning.
  • Prior-learning training, tools, and content for students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

“The UNC System is grateful to Lumina Foundation and the NC Community College System for their partnership in this valuable endeavor,” said UNC System President Margaret Spellings. “We are pleased that North Carolina is part of the Adult Promise program, and we are hopeful that these new tools will help our adult learners achieve even greater success.”

“Research says that, by 2020, two-thirds of jobs in North Carolina will require education beyond high school,” said NCCCS President Peter Hans. “By using multiple strategies, such as scaling up the implementation of Finish First, community colleges can keep students on track to earn those degrees and credentials that are so important to improving economic mobility.”

Besides North Carolina, the other states selected for Adult Promise are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, and Ohio. They join the initial cohort that Lumina announced in November 2017: Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington.