Abbeville Promise Continues to Yield Positive Results
In spite of the challenges felt across all sectors of education last year due to Covid, the Abbeville Promise continues to provide students and families in Abbeville County with the assurance that a quality college education is within reach.
After a communitywide effort to raise enough funds to make the program sustainable, the Abbeville Promise launched with the graduating high school class of 2018. Now in its third year, the impact of the Abbeville Promise continues to be felt.
Results to date continue to demonstrate that the program is having a positive impact in the county. They include:
• Abbeville County Schools retained increases in the number of graduating seniors attending PTC in the year following graduation--from 23% in 2017 to 28% in fall 2020. While the percentage is lower this year than in 2019, the matriculation rate is expected to recover as schools are able to operate more normally, and as school counselors are better able to reach their students.
• Abbeville Promise students continue to do well at PTC, with an average GPA of 2.7. Forty-seven (47) students have completed one or more credentials at the college, and 13 have transferred to a two- or four-year college for additional education to date.
• PTC continues to see cumulative increases in enrollment from eligible Abbeville County students. One hundred fifty-six (156) eligible students attended in fall 2020; 122 attended in spring 2021; and 66 have been funded by the Promise since its launch.
Under the leadership of Brad Evans as chairman, The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation sponsored a campaign to establish the Abbeville Promise—a “last dollar” scholarship program for every graduating high school senior from Abbeville County.
“We continue to be pleased with the investment our community has made in our students,” said Evans. “In spite of the issues Covid caused last year, the fact that our college attendance rate has remained strong is a good indication that we’re helping to move the needle in Abbeville.”
Student enrollment continues to be strongly concentrated in health care, industrial, engineering and skilled trades fields, followed by students intending to transfer to a four-year college or public service fields such as criminal justice, and information technology.
“These are the kinds of skills that are needed in our community, and more broadly, throughout our region.” said Evans. “This is about more than college attendance—it’s ultimately about seeing a return on the investment our community has made in a skilled workforce.”
Evans specifically noted that he’d like to thank Andy Timmerman, CEO of Abbeville First Bank, and Jeff Wilson, CEO of WCTEL for their leadership on the campaign to fund the Promise.
“None of this would have been possible without their dedication to making this program a reality,” Evans noted.
To launch the program, the capital campaign goal was set at $1.2 million. As of today, $1,218,000 has been pledged.
“This kind of investment speaks volumes about the commitment Abbeville County has to ensuring its students are well-positioned for success in the future. The time, effort and energy their students are spending to pursue a quality education will pay dividends for years to come,” said Dr. Hope E. Rivers, president of Piedmont Technical College.