TCCC receives $40,000 grant to focus on FAFSA

National College Access Network (NCAN) has selected Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) to receive a $40,000 grant for the 2018-2019 FAFSA Completion Challenge.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides grants, loans and work-study funds to students and is a pivotal part in many students’ decision to attend college. NCAN challenges each of the 25 grant receipts to increase their city’s FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percentage points for the graduating high school class of 2019.

TCCC will work in partnership with Charleston County School District, the City of Charleston and Trident Technical College over the next year to meet that goal.

“Many of our most promising, college-bound students miss out on Pell Grant opportunities and other forms of financial aid because they don’t complete the FAFSA,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “This NCAN grant will empower TCCC and our partners to help more students get the financial assistance they need to attend and successfully complete college.”

The Kresge Foundation and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates funded the grant. The 2018-2019 competition builds on the success of the original Kresge-funded 2016-2017 FAFSA Completion Challenge.

“The 2016-17 Challenge demonstrated that cities could achieve significant progress in just one school year by working collaboratively across sectors to give students the FAFSA completion support they need,” said Caroline Altman Smith, Kresge’s deputy director for its education program. “This is a high-leverage investment for philanthropy because the FAFSA enables students to tap into huge amounts of government resources that often go unclaimed.”

NCAN will award a $100,000 grand prize in September 2019 to one of the 25 cities based on a holistic review of the percentage growth in completions, adoption of effective strategies, barriers overcome and likelihood of sustainability.

To view a PDF version of this press release, click here.

Only a few days left to submit FAFSA

The state deadline to submit the the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is approaching fast!

Students in South Carolina who are planning to attend college between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 must submit the FAFSA by June 30, 2018. That’s only a few days away!

The FAFSA is how students apply for federal grants, work-study funds, student loans and scholarships to pay for college.

Here are some tips for completing the FAFSA:

1.) The official FAFSA website is You should never be asked to pay to complete the FAFSA. It’s always FREE.

2.) Fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible and definitely before June 30!

3.) It’s important to get an FSA ID (username and password) before filling out the FAFSA form. When you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it to sign your FAFSA form electronically. Create an FSA ID at

4.) Colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added, so you should add ALL colleges you are considering to your FAFSA, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll apply or be accepted. You can add up to 10 schools at a time.

CEO John Read speaks to Rotary Club of North Charleston Breakfast

Thanks to the Rotary Club of North Charleston Breakfast for inviting TCCC CEO John Read to speak during today’s meeting!

Math professionals propose end of course math exam requirements

Math professionals at the district and college level, supported by the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, have been working to open pathways to college and careers in science, business, technology, engineering and other STEM-related disciplines.

This Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT) has been assessing the effectiveness of end of course examinations for high school math courses. Common end of course exams for Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are being administered or are soon to be administered across the state of South Carolina.

After careful study, this team has reached consensus on the following recommendations directed to leadership within the Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester District 4 school districts.

  1. High school math courses beyond Algebra I and Algebra 2 (e.g. Geometry and Precalculus) should include a final course exam that is common across each school district. These common final course exams should be created or obtained and used across each school district.
  2. Each end of course exam should be aligned exclusively to the set of priority standards that are set forth for that course.
  3. These common final exams should count for at least 15% of the student’s final grade for the course.

The state has imposed across all school districts a consistent final exam for Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 that is already planned for implementation. State-level end of course final exams have not been imposed for courses beyond Algebra 2 (e.g. Geometry and Precalculus).

The MPPT has concluded that most final exams are not common for high school math courses beyond Algebra 1, even within school districts. Therefore, the final exams administered to students for these courses may have little to no accountability for the content that should be assessed.

To ensure that all students are assessed on their proficiency with the standards applicable to each course, the MPPT strongly encourages that, by the 2020 school year, each respective school district create or obtain and use common final course exams for Geometry and Precalculus. These common exams should be tied exclusively to the state adopted South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics.

Furthermore, the MPPT has concluded that end of course exams are not weighted consistently for the final course grade for students. To assure that students enrolled in the same course are assessed equitably and consistently for the student’s final grade for a course, common final exams should account for at least 15% of the final grade for each course. MPPT also recommends that these final course exam results should not be used to measure teacher effectiveness.

About the Math Pathways Project Team

The Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT) was initiated in October of 2015 by Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s Postsecondary Education Consortium and High School Graduation Network to open pathways to STEM-related college and career options. MPPT is comprised of representation from the region’s four school districts (Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester District 4) and colleges and universities across the state (Charleston Southern University, Clemson University, The Citadel, College of Charleston, University of South Carolina and Trident Technical College). Since that date, the team has been engaged in the review and evaluation of the region’s school district math curriculum, the colleges’ and universities’ entry requirements and the readiness of high school students to enter post-secondary education and/or to enter into the workforce.

To view a PDF version of this press release, click here.