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Get the Facts

The mission of the North Carolina Community College System is to open the door to high-quality, accessible educational opportunities that minimize barriers to post-secondary education, maximize student success, develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce, and improve the lives and well being of N.C. citizens.

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Creating Success: Students

  • Community colleges in North Carolina are within a 30-minute drive of its citizens.
  • An estimated 840,000 students enrolled at one of the 58 community colleges during the 2010-2011 academic year. This accounts for 1 in 9 N.C. citizens 18 and older.
  • The North Carolina Community College System is the third largest in the nation, based on the number of colleges.
  • Historically, N.C. has had the lowest tuition in the Southeast Region — one of the lowest in the nation.
  • The average age of a community college student in North Carolina is 28 years old.
  • 88 percent of associate degree recipients from the system have a grade-point average of 2.0 or better at the University of North Carolina system institutions or private colleges after two semesters.

Creating Success: Programs

  • NC Community Colleges have many virtual enrollment opportunities through distance education with 248 curriculum and 45 continuing education courses that may be offered online at the local colleges.
  • Faculty make up 44 percent of the 15,659 full-time employees at NC Community Colleges. Of these full-time faculty, 65 percent have earned a master’s degree or higher.
  • In 2010-11, 87 percent of first-time test takers passed their licensing or certification exams.

Minority Male Mentoring

  • The first Minority Male Mentoring program, was established in 2003 with the goal to increase retention and graduation rates among minority males through specialized outreach, such as service learning and professional development.
  • In 2011-2012, 43 of the 58 community colleges have operated programs, serving more than 1500 students.
  • Minority Male Mentoring Programs are supported through appropriations provided by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the federal North Carolina College Access Challenge Grant.

Customized Training

  • For nearly 50 years, North Carolina has offered no-cost, company-specific training to eligible companies in our state. N.C. was one of the first in the nation to offer the important economic development tool.
  • Training may be provided to companies that create eligible jobs, make significant technology investments or take on critical productivity enhancement efforts.
  • During fiscal year 2010-11, the Customized Training program provided customized job training to 27,740 individuals at 605 eligible companies. A total of $9,271,539 was expended at an average cost of $334 per trainee.


  • The BioNetwork staff supported the Customized Training Program on 37 projects – providing companies with training and advanced learning tools.
  • This year, the BioNetwork Centers supported more than 4,300 students and workers in on-site, hands-on training offered through nearly 300 courses. These participants also had nearly 150 interactions with life-science related companies in North Carolina that involved 40 of our 58 colleges.
  • In 2010-2011, BioNetwork produced 12 web-based BioForum Learning Sessions on topics including aquaculture and plant grafting, which were viewed by 5,120 individuals on both live and archived sessions – representing a 2.3 fold increase from 2009-2010.
  • BioNetwork also delivered 27 workshops to 1,552 participants on a variety of topics, such as Bee Keeping and Biotechnology for the Non-Scientist. For more information on topics, visit
  • Through BioNetwork’s career fair and K-14 outreach efforts, more than 30,000 job seekers, employees and students have become aware of biotechnology and the value of a strong math and science and education. These outreach efforts represent an 80 percent increase in the number of participants from 2009-2010.

Continuing Education and Workforce Development

  • Workforce Continuing Education programs offer many pathways to train students. Local colleges have the flexibility to offer training as a single course or they may bundle a series of courses and offer students a certificate of completion leading to a recognized credential (licensure, certification, renewal or registry listing). These training opportunities are short-term, affordable, and have flexible scheduling.
  • More than 800 courses are available through Continuing Education programs with more than 300 courses leading to a state-regulated or industry-recognized workforce credential.
  • Community colleges represent a second chance at education for many North Carolinians. In 2010-2011, our colleges enrolled 115,312 students in a basic skills program (ESL, GED, Adult High School, Adult Basic Education and/or Compensatory Education).
  • North Carolina awards approximately 15,000 GED and Adult High School diplomas annually.
  • The Compensatory Education program is offered for students with intellectual disabilities who are working to acquire skills for transitioning to lifelong independence. Annually, more than 6,000 individuals take advantage of this program across all 58 community colleges.
  • NC Community Colleges’ JobsNOW 12-in-6 program, initiated in 2009, resulted in workers earning 1,882 state-regulated credentials; 1,477 industry-regulated credentials; and 7,995 Career Readiness Certificates.
  • Offered at NC Community Colleges, the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate (NC CRC) is a nationally recognized workplace skills credential.
  • Since its initial implementation in 2006, more than 140,000 individuals have earned the NC CRC credential, placing North Carolina fifth in the nation for number of certificates earned.

Small Business Center Network

  • NC Community Colleges’ Small Business Center Network (SBCN) is the most extensive state-funded small business assistance program in the nation. Most seminars offered are free, or at a nominal price, and all 58 community colleges have a Small Business Center.
  • In 2010-2011, SBCN provided 3,683 seminars to 53,458 attendees and counseling to 6,817 individuals, resulting in 742 business startups and 3,372 jobs created or retained.
Updated by Public Affairs Thursday, October 25, 2012 12:09:28 PM