College News

CCCC awarded a $9.2 million First in the World grant

09.21.2015 • College & Community, College General, Finances

SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College has been awarded a $9.2 million First in the World grant by the U.S. Department of Education. The four-year grant will be largest in the 53-year history of the college.

Nationwide, only two First in the World validation grants were awarded to test, at a broad scale, college student interventions supported by significant evidence. The First in the World program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions and evidence for what works in addressing persistent and widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not persisting in and completing college.

"Central Carolina Community College is proud to have received this $9.2 million First in the World grant," said Dr. T.E. Marchant, CCCC President. "At Central Carolina, we know that proactive success coaching is an effective way to improve student retention and completion. We are extremely grateful for the opportunities this project will provide for our students at Central Carolina and across the state of North Carolina."

"We are very proud of everyone at CCCC for this recognition," said Julian Philpott, Chairman of the CCCC Board of Trustees. "The innovative programs that are being developed and implemented at CCCC are helping to improve our students' opportunities to be successful in the classroom and in the workplace. We have outstanding administrators, faculty members, and staff at CCCC and they share the goal of offering the students the best quality education possible. Our team of educators is very innovative and they are dedicated to keeping CCCC at the forefront of the most outstanding educational institutions in the country."

In 2012, Central Carolina launched a College Success Center with a team of success coaches who collaborate with faculty and staff to provide individualized academic and personal support for students who need it the most. Success coaches collaborate with faculty and staff using an innovative early alert/advising system powered by Aviso Coaching, LLC.

Since 2012, Central Carolina has increased its persistence rate by 13 percent.

This First in the World grant titled "Carolina Works" will help spread the proactive success coach model to nine additional North Carolina community colleges to improve student outcomes statewide while also helping CCCC continue to refine its success coach/advising practice locally.

"At Central Carolina, we are committed to engaging students as full partners in the learning process. We are innovative with our approaches to working with students, and we are thrilled about this opportunity to work and learn from expert partners and nine other North Carolina community colleges to improve our student learning environment," said Dr. Brian Merritt, Vice President of Student Learning and Chief Academic Officer. Dr. Merritt will serve as the principal investigator for the grant.

National expert, Jobs for the Future, will serve as an advisor and advocate for the project. JFF seeks to design and drive the adoption of innovative and scalable education and career training models and systems that leads from college readiness to career advancement. JFF also develops and advocates for federal and state policies needed to support these solutions.

Dr. Derek Price, President of DVP-PRAXIS, will serve as the independent evaluator for the grant. Dr. Price is the former Director of Higher Education Research for the Lumina Foundation for Education and has extensive experience as a higher education research. The Carolina Works project design will model a research study by Bettinger & Baker (2011) titled, "The effects of student coaching in college: An evaluation of a randomized experiment in student mentoring." That study found proactive success coaching to increase retention 14 percent for a control group over a 24-month period.

The nine partner colleges are Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Carteret Community College, Cleveland Community College, College of the Albemarle, Isothermal Community College, Pamlico Community College, Randolph Community College, Roanoke Chowan Community College, and Southwestern Community College.

Central Carolina Community College offers a wide variety of programs at its three campus locations and multiple instructional locations throughout Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties in North Carolina. Within these programs, students can earn associate degrees or college transfer credits, diplomas, or certificates.

For more information on Central Carolina Community College, visit

CCCC awarded a $9.2 million First in the World grant