SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College graduates will soon have advanced opportunities to transfer into a four-year college without leaving Rowan County.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Catawba College are making history with their new Learn Local, Grow Local program that will enable graduates from Rowan-Cabarrus to transfer with junior standing into more than 50 different programs at Catawba.

Intended to support students who want to earn a four-year college degree locally, the Learn Local, Grow Local transfer program emphasizes the rich higher education opportunities that exist in Rowan County. Examples of programs included are Accounting, Business, Computer Science, Birth-Kindergarten Education, Economics and Finance, Information Technology, Management, Psychology, and Sociology.

“The Learn Local, Grow Local agreement between our two institutions puts students first by supporting them in their academic careers with structured pathways that will lead to a bachelor’s degree,” explained Dr. Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “And they do not have to leave home – they can achieve their college dreams right here in Rowan County. We are very excited to begin this type of work with our four-year partners in Rowan County and look forward to working with Livingstone College next.”

The historic agreement was born out of a competitive grant from the Teagle Foundation based in New York. Selected by the statewide system to create a transfer agreement for Psychology and Sociology students, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Catawba staff found the process exciting and easily scalable. Learn Local, Grow Local not only offers guarantee of transfer, but provides students with a clear list of courses they need to take, along with advising support. Participants in the program also will be eligible to apply for scholarship assistance at both Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Catawba College.

“We have always had a strong connection to and support for our Rowan County community that we call home. Catawba is always focused on financial accessibility, especially for those who grow up, live, and work in our local area. As we move forward into this next generation of partnership with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, we know their students will be well prepared for success at Catawba College, and we look forward to adding additional chapters to this valuable partnership over the coming months,” said Catawba College President Brien Lewis.

“One of the most unique things about Rowan County is the presence of so many high-quality educational institutions,” noted Jenn Selby, Executive Director of Transfer and University Partnerships at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “This is a common-sense partnership that has the potential to enrich our entire community through the power of learning,” she said. “I am so excited to help students in this way, and I am so proud of my community for recognizing this need and responding to it. Working with Catawba employees has felt like working with family. I look forward to working with our other sister colleges in Salisbury in order to create as many opportunities for our students as we can.”

The Learn Local, Grow Local agreement was officially signed during a special ceremony held on Monday, January 27, 2020 on the campus of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. Rowan-Cabarrus Board Chair Carl M. Short, Jr. and Catawba College Board Chair Bill Graham, along with members of the Rowan Educational Collaborative, local education leaders, county commissioners, city council members and other community members were present to witness the signing by Presidents Carol Spalding and Brien Lewis.

“We want students to know this is not just an agreement on paper – there is commitment behind it,” said Dr. Jeff Bowe, Dean of Distance and Online Education at Catawba College. “Advisors and faculty at each college are ready to help mentor students through the process. From starting their associate degree and graduating from Rowan-Cabarrus, to transferring to Catawba and earning their bachelor’s degree, we are with them each step of the way.”

The agreement will take effect with the Fall 2020 semester. Anyone interested in learning more about the program may contact Jenn Selby, Executive Director of Transfer & University Partnerships at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (