The Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP)

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C-STEP Overview

The Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) is a partnership between Craven Community College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made possible by a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation ( The goal of C-STEP is to identify high-achieving, low-to moderate-income students who would not otherwise attend a selective college or university; to enroll these students in the Associate in Arts/Science program at one of the partnering community colleges; to mentor these students through successful completion of an Associate degree (AA/AS); to transfer these students, as juniors, to UNC-Chapel Hill; and to support their successful completion of a baccalaureate degree.

Entry into the program is competitive and is based on both demonstrated financial need and academic excellence.  Statistics show that transfer students from North Carolina Community Colleges perform better, on average as juniors, than those who enter the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as freshmen.

C-STEP is not a scholarship program nor is it part of the general process routinely followed by students applying to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as college freshmen or traditional community college students applying to UNC-CH as College-University transfer students.
Rather, C-STEP identifies talented low-to-moderate-income students as early as high school and facilitates their eventual admission and transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as juniors, if they earn an appropriate associate's degree at Craven Community College and complete C-STEP and UNC-CH participation and admissions requirements. While using funds from Federal Student Financial Aid to pay for tuition and books at the community college, C-STEP students are provided exemplary advising, mentoring, and support during their transition and subsequent enrollment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This collaborative effort will ensure that Craven Community College C-STEP students feel "firmly planted" at Carolina almost immediately after transferring there. These students will be academically prepared and fully engaged in the campus community — and both are strong indicators of student success.

Helpful Links and Contacts

CCC C-STEP Advisor

Sarah Whitford, Recruiter
Craven Community College
800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562 or (252)-514-0502

Student Testimonial

Admission into the C-STEP program has given me a sense of achievement and security for my future.

I attended Craven Community College while serving in the United States Marine Corps, taking classes oftentimes during my many deployments overseas. My goal was to finish a degree with Craven and apply for admission into UNC-Chapel Hill, with little confidence that I would be accepted because of the competitive nature of UNC programs. It wasn’t until I was recommended for C-STEP, and accepted, that I realized that it was possible to plan for a successful future.

As a transfer student at Carolina, I hope to receive a degree in Biological Science. The C-STEP program helped to better prepare me for what I am going to expect in a university setting versus a community college. I have also enjoyed the added bonus of attending events such as academic lectures, sporting events, and co-curricular club events.

Marlena Brokob
C-STEP Student
CCC Graduate (2012)
UNC-Chapel Hill
Projected Graduate (May 2014)

An important consideration for many students interested in transferring to a four-year University is how to pay for their education. Once enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university attempts to meet 100 percent of every admitted C-STEP student's demonstrated financial need through grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.

In addition, qualified C-STEP students will be eligible to apply to be Carolina Covenant Scholars (, a landmark program that enables students from low socioeconomic backgrounds to graduate with minimal debt from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The following criteria apply to C-STEP applicants:

  • Current enrollment or plans to enroll as an Associate of Arts Degree (AA) or Associate of Science Degree (AS) student at Craven Community College;
  • Record of strong academic performance;
  • Demonstration of financial need, according to FAFSA;
  • Completion of all developmental studies requirements; and
  • Commitment to be a full-time student each semester.

Recruitment for participation in C-STEP is underway, and we are currently searching for potential candidates.

If you are interested in applying for the C-STEP program at Craven Community College, please complete and submit the attached CCC C-STEP Interest Form.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sarah Whitford, Recruiter.

*CCC would like to express appreciation to Durham Technical Community College for providing the original source for this content.

Additional Information

Craven Community College C-STEP Interest Form - (pdf)

Craven Community College General C-STEP Flyer - (pdf)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Transfer Information

Applying as a Transfer Student

Undergraduate Bulletin (2012-2013)