Carolina-Student Transfer Excellence Program (CSTEP)

Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) is a partnership between Durham Technical 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 ensure their successful completion of a baccalaureate degree.

Application to the program is competitive and is based on both demonstrated financial need and academic excellence.  Statistics show that transfer students from Durham Technical Community College perform better on average as juniors than those who entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as freshmen.

C-STEP is not a scholarship program nor is it the general process for applying for admission to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for University Transfer Students. Rather, C-STEP identifies talented low-to-moderate-income students as early as high school and facilitates their eventual transfer admission to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as juniors if they earn an appropriate associate's degree at Durham Technical Community College. While using funds from Federal Student 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 transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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

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 planning to enroll as an Associate of Arts Degree (AA) or Associate of Science Degree (AS) student at Durham Technical 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.