Investing in the community: Greenville Tech leaders turning to Upstate for support

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville Technical College leaders are calling on the community for help. Numbers from the school show nearly 10% of students may have to drop out because of an inability to pay balances from the last semester.

It’s a fresh semester at a handful of Upstate schools.

“My psychology professor, today I met her and it was like an awesome class,” said Greenville Technical College Student, Payal Patel.

“I’m in my fourth semester and I love it so I’m like, this is a great career path for myself. So, I’m definitely excited and ready to get out in the workforce,” said Spartanburg Community College Student Al’valon Allen.

Students like these two are embarking on a new year.

However, that number is anticipated to be lower than what leaders with Spartanburg Community College and Greenville Technical College are used to seeing.

“We’re down in enrollment and that’s unfortunate, but, for instance, in our healthcare program, specifically nursing, we’re driving forward with those,” President of Spartanburg Community College, Dr. Michael Mikota told us.

“Students are looking at the pandemic, the situation, they’re perhaps saying they’re just going to stop out for a while,” said Vice President for Advancement with Greenville Tech Foundation Ann Wright.

Ann Wright with the Greenville Tech Foundation told us the pandemic is taking a toll on student’s finances.

In fact, numbers show a little over half of Greenville Tech’s students experienced at least one form of basic need insecurity in the past year, whether that’s housing or food.

School leaders have been sympathetic.

“The college had actually carried that unpaid balance forward ever since the pandemic started, essentially letting students register with balances and unfortunately at some point, that had to end,” Wright said.

Those balances are standing in the way of some continuing their education.

“We’d like to be able to pay off their balances,” said Wright.

That’s why leaders are asking the community to invest in itself. Wright told 7 News, a lot of these students are already working other jobs while pursuing their education there and have families to provide for.

Adding, they help grow these students into qualified employees who keep local companies moving forward.

“Most of our students stay in the Greenville community, they’re employed here in the Greenville community,” Wright told us.

Even though the spring semester began Monday at Greenville Tech, students can still register for classes.

If you’re interested in donating to Greenville Tech, you can find a link to their website here: https://www.gvltec.edu/index.html

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