Blue Ridge staff assist a student complete FAFSA.

Blue Ridge to Host Next NC Scholarship and Financial Aid Assistance Events this Summer

Featured Photo: A Blue Ridge staff member helps a student apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (Photo by: Rich Keen.)

Marketing & Communications Dept.

To ensure students receive the maximum financial assistance possible this fall, Blue Ridge Community College is hosting free ‘Next NC Nights’ throughout the summer to help students complete an important financial aid application.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online form used to determine student eligibility for federal financial aid, but the information is also used for funding opportunities at the state and local levels. For North Carolina families, filling out the FAFSA is one of the most important steps in pursuing financial assistance, as students are automatically considered for the state’s Next NC Scholarship. Blue Ridge’s Educational Foundation also uses the information to assign local scholarships, and the College is already processing student information for the fall 2024 semester.

“In 2023, more than $4 billion in Pell Grant funds were unclaimed due to the lack of applications. We want to change that number this year to help as many students as possible,” said Kirsten Bunch, Blue Ridge’s vice president for student services. “We invite any student planning to attend any college to come to Blue Ridge Community College for assistance in completing their FAFSA. The Next NC Scholarship provides further incentive this year, as it is also awarded based on FAFSA data.”

According to the terms of the Next NC Scholarship, North Carolina community college students from families making $80,000 or less each year could receive a state scholarship that fully covers the costs of tuition and fees. Eligible North Carolina students attending a community college will receive up to $3,000 per year, covering educational expenses with funds that will not need to be repaid. 

On the College’s Henderson County Campus, Next NC FAFSA-completion events will be held in the lobby of the Sink Building from 5 – 7 p.m. on June 10, July 16, July 24, July 30, and August 5. On the Transylvania County Campus, the events will take place on July 2 and July 11 from 5 – 7 p.m. in the library – room 133 – of the Straus Building. Students are welcome to bring their own laptops or use computers available at the college. The priority FAFSA filing date for incoming Blue Ridge Community College students is August 5, 2024.

More than half of Blue Ridge students who complete the FAFSA are expected to receive some form of financial aid through the Next NC Scholarship.

“At Blue Ridge Community College, we recognize the concerns students encounter in financing their education,” said Benjamin Rickert, the College’s marketing and communications director. “This is why we are committed to providing comprehensive support to help students find solutions and thrive, regardless of their financial circumstances or other barriers. The Next NC Scholarship will be a game-changer for many of our current and incoming students, providing funds they will not need to repay.”

Blue Ridge financial aid staff will be on-hand throughout the events to help with applications and answer questions.

Related, the upcoming Summer Open House will provide students an opportunity to learn more about Blue Ridge Community College’s programs and services. Students and families are invited to visit the Patton Building between 5:30 – 7 p.m. on June 18 to learn about enrollment in more than 200 program options.

Students may learn more about the Next NC Scholarship, FAFSA, and enrollment at and Fall classes at Blue Ridge begin August 15.