Scholarship Supports NC State Families

wolf statue

Faculty and staff provide a framework for NC State to continue to reach new heights in higher education. In recognition of what they give to the university, Chancellor Randy Woodson found a unique way to say thank you.

In 2015, Woodson and his wife, Susan, launched the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship with a $1.15 million gift. The scholarship gives $2,000 per year, renewable for four years, to all dependents — who earn undergraduate admission to NC State and meet other requirements — of full-time employees.

Since the fall 2016 semester, more than 530 students have received the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship, totalling more than $1 million. The scholarship helps not only to attract highly-qualified students to NC State, it also aids in employee recruitment and retention.

“Paying for college expenses can be stressful for any family. The Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship has been a tangible demonstration to the NC State community that their daily contributions to the university are highly valued and appreciated,” said Krista Ringler, associate vice provost and director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. “From our perspective as the group that manages the administration of these funds, we have seen first-hand the relief families feel that in a time of so many decisions and unknowns, they can count on scholarship support from this program.” 

Full-time faculty and staff must be employed with the university for three years before their dependents can qualify for the scholarship. Students must be admitted to NC State as undergraduates pursuing their first degree, taking a full course load and meeting regular academic requirements. The scholarship is open to all dependents of employees who meet these requirements, regardless of income or employee job function.

We spoke with two employee-child pairs about the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship and its impact on their lives.

Braska Williams

Coordinator, North Carolina Math-Science Education Network Pre-College Program, College of Education

Martia Williams

Sophomore, Mathematics Education, Goodnight Scholar

Braska and Martia WilliamsIn what ways have you been impacted by the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship?

Braska: Financially it’s been great. Every scholarship helps with the rising costs of a college education. As a state employee and with the Great Recession, I have not received the raises that I had hoped, and so this scholarship has been a shot in the arm.

How does the scholarship impact your perception of NC State?

Braska: It definitely made me feel appreciated by Chancellor Woodson. I reached out to him personally to thank him for this, and he stated that he understands that NC State can only be a great place because of its employees. Also, when I share this with colleagues from other campuses, it just makes me realize how this is a special community.

How does it feel to be so close to one another on campus?

Braska: It’s pretty cool. In our case, we are both in the same college, but I work on Centennial Campus. Still, many of the employees know her and recognize her. They ask, “Are you Braska’s daughter?” She smiles. When she was a high school junior and was considering NC State, she was concerned that I would spy on her. I laughed and said, “Sweetheart, I have way too much work to do to spy on you.” We meet for lunch every two weeks somewhere on campus whether it’s the dining hall or Talley. She enjoys being able to come home every so often for a home-cooked meal and to visit us as a family. 

Martia: I have mixed feelings about being close. On the one hand, there are a lot of benefits. Sometimes if I need something from home, my dad can bring it to me on his way to work. We also have regular lunch meetings which have been really nice because I feel more a part of our family and the things that I would otherwise not hear about that go on in our family at home. The part where I have mixed feelings is the fact that he works in my college so many people know him. So as soon I say my last name people immediately know that I’m his daughter. This can be great because a lot of people like him but sometimes I wish that I could have my own identity as a student separate from him. But overall, it has been really great to have that connection on campus and I think our relationship has been better now than it was when I was in high school so I am grateful for this chance to have my parent so close to me during such a challenging time in my life. 

Why did you choose NC State?  

Martia: I chose NC State because I felt that the university offered a lot of opportunities and resources that were important to me. I like that NC State has a great focus on service while also being a school that has a lot of school spirit. Being at NC State feels like I have a home and a family on campus, especially in the College of Education. NC State is also very well known for having the best education program in the state and I wanted to attend a school where I knew that I would be prepared well for my future career in teaching. Lastly, the biggest reason why I chose NC State was the Goodnight Scholars Program, where not only have I gained a full scholarship to NC State, but I also have a great community of like-minded STEM leaders who challenge me to grow while on campus. Overall, I chose NC State because I felt that the university would give me the support I needed to be successful as a learner.

What role did the Employee Dependent’s Tuition scholarship play in your decision to attend?

Martia: The Employee Dependent’s Tuition scholarship has allowed me to gain a full ride scholarship here at NC State and played a big role in my decision to attend. I knew before the college application process started that I already had a partial scholarship at NC State without applying to any other scholarships. Having this knowledge made NC State more appealing going into the application process because I knew I would have to pay less money here than at any other institution I was applying to before any other scholarships. 

How has your perception of NC State changed since becoming a student vs. what you heard from your parent?

Martia: My situation was very unique in the sense that I have a parent who works here and both of my parents are NC State alumni as well. So from a very young age, I was exposed to NC State football and basketball games and I participated in my dad’s pre-college program here from grades 6-12. So I received outside influences other than just what my dad would tell me about NC State. But, I do think that the atmosphere is very different now looking at it from a student perspective than it was before I became a student. Many times both my parents and other current college students warned me that college can be very challenging and difficult, but I ignored the warnings because I was a top student in high school. Experiencing the difficulties of being a college student first-hand has allowed me to understand the challenges of college, but also the need to adapt and apply my skills to the setting that I have been placed in here on campus and grow as a student and lifelong learner.

Tracey Peake

Public Communications Specialist, University Relations – University Communications and Marketing

Hayden Peake

First-Year, College of Engineering

Tracey and Hayden PeakeWhy did you choose NC State?

Hayden: I want to pursue a computer science major and the College of Engineering has an excellent reputation. Plus, I’ve spent a lot of time here since my mom works here, and it’s always felt like home.

What role did the Employee Dependent’s Tuition scholarship play in your decision to attend?

Hayden: Honestly, I probably would have come to NC State anyway, but the extra help in stretching my college funds is awesome!

In what ways have you been impacted by the Employee Dependent’s Tuition Scholarship?

Tracey: It was announced just as Hayden was getting ready to go to high school, and since I knew he would probably apply to NC State, it was a nice feeling of having extra support in terms of funding his education. Being able to count on that scholarship for eight semesters helps quite a bit with planning his college finances. And it made the decision to come to NC State much easier for him as well!

How does it impact your perception of NC State?

Tracey: I’m proud of the fact that the university is showing its support of employees in yet another tangible way — and that the support extends to our families as well. When we talk about the Wolfpack family, we really mean it.

How does it feel to be so close to one another on campus?

Tracey: Honestly, we don’t see one another that often since we’re both always so busy, but it does make it easier to help him out with little things, like getting a tie to him in time for the Engineering Career Fair!

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