Initiatives

The NCC Foundation Transforms Lives…One Student at a Time

Norwalk Community College was founded in 1961 and is the oldest public two-year college in Connecticut, with an annual enrollment of nearly 15,000 students in both credit and non-credit programs. NCC has served over 170,000 students to date and more Fairfield County students attend NCC than any other post-secondary institution.

Recognizing that Connecticut has the largest K-12 academic achievement gap in the nation,* NCC embraces the diverse needs of its students and provides an environment that empowers individuals to reach their highest potential. From the infant enrolled in NCC’s Child Development Lab School to the retiree who joins the Lifetime Learners Institute on campus, we are a resource for all ages.

NCC is truly the educational center of our community, providing opportunities for intellectual inquiry, open dialogue, multicultural awareness and lifelong learning. The majority of NCC graduates continue to live in Fairfield County, providing an educated and committed workforce for local employers. When NCC students succeed, our community succeeds.

*Connecticut Commission on Children


Scholarships for High-Achieving Students

NCC is a racially, ethnically and academically diverse college. NCC has been recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Dept. of Education (40% of NCC’s students are Hispanic). A significant proportion of NCC students are low-income, minority and first generation students, and many come from homes in which English is not the primary language. Students come from over 60 countries representing more than 40 languages.

Approximately 65% of full-time students and 45% of all NCC students receive some form of financial aid. Many of these students struggle to overcome major challenges such as childcare costs and transportation as they pursue their educational goals.

The NCC Foundation scholarships have a profound impact on our students. Nationally, most community college students finance their education through a combination of Federal Pell grants and loans. At NCC, our best students can graduate debt free. NCC Foundation scholarships have more than doubled in the past 10 years. In addition to our traditional Spring and Fall semester scholarships, we offer Winter and Summer scholarships so that students can accelerate their graduation.

With a 20% increase in scholarship applications this year, the NCC Foundation’s annual funding available from the endowment can no longer cover the immediate scholarship needs of current students at NCC. Please hear our students speak about the impact of their Foundation scholarship on their personal success, as featured in a “Thank You” video available in the Student Video Showcase.


Student Success: Path, REAL and Summer Bridge

Donor support makes the following student success programs possible:

The Path Scholarship Program, which began in 2012, demonstrates how the NCC Foundation helps increase student success. Based on past success, Path 2.0 was launched in 2017. Participants receive individual coaching as well as a grant for full tuition and fees. When compared with a control group, students in the initial Path cohorts consistently demonstrated higher graduation rates, grade point averages, and course completion rates – 90% graduated from NCC and 81% have either completed their bachelor’s degree or are still in school.

REAL (Reaching Excellent Academic Levels) is a hands-on program designed to increase college achievement and completion. Students meet bi-weekly with the Program Coordinator and participate in the REAL Mentoring Matters program. Participants have regular tutoring in math and English and attend workshops designed to bring their awareness to the skills and mindset needed for success.

The Summer Bridge Math Program provides a free, two-week math intensive for incoming freshman who have registered at NCC and received low math scores on the placement test. This past year, 72% of the students finishing the program had immediate savings in time and money through increasing their placement to either the 4-credit remedial mathematics course or to a college level mathematics course. This was the highest percentage the program has accomplished in its history.


Transfer Scholarships for NCC Graduates

Transfer Scholarships provide high-achieving NCC graduates who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree with financial assistance to a four-year college or university of their choice. Scholarship recipients have transferred to a diverse group of colleges including Cornell University, Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Southern California, University of Pennsylvania, and Pratt Institute.

The Foundation offers three Transfer Scholarship programs:

  • LEAP Transfer Scholarships: For U.S. citizens and permanent residents who graduate with a 3.5 or higher grade point average.
  • Dream Transfer Scholarships: Applicants for this program must be immigrants who attended and graduated from US High Schools, but are not yet US citizens or permanent residents.
  • RN to BSN Transfer Scholarships: Offers students who earn an RN at NCC the opportunity to receive additional assistance while pursuing a BSN.

Support for NCC Programs and Activities

Unrestricted giving provides the Foundation with the flexibility to respond to the needs of the College. Recent examples of program support include:

  • Support for the NCC Makerspace, a hub to empower creativity, critical thinking, and inventiveness among students of all academic disciplines.
  • Underwriting for the annual Common Read, which includes a series of free campus events built around a common literary selection. The 2018 Common Read was “Bullets Into Bells,” a collection of poems and responses about the impact of gun violence.
  • Support for Phi Theta Kappa honor society. NCC is home to the Alpha Iota Nu Chapter of PTK, recognized as one of the top chapters in New England.
  • Funding for NCC’s Honors Program. Honors is now an active program of study at NCC. The Foundation provides support for operational costs and academic activities that move the enrolled students’ toward completion of the two-year program.

Unrestricted to Support the Greatest Need

Norwalk Community College Foundation’s investments in the College are driven by data and long-term outcomes. When we target our funds on the most effective programs, we help more students achieve their goals. Thanks to generous donor support, we have commissioned a research project with Dr. Rebecca Wayland, of Competitive Paradigms, to assess the effectiveness of our scholarship awards with a data-driven analysis to profile the key touch points that help students on their path to graduation and life success.

The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that the annual income of students who graduate with an associate degree is 34% higher than that of students with a high school diploma. Unfortunately, many students “stop out” before graduating and those who do graduate often take longer than two years.

To understand the paths to graduation/transfer for students enrolling at NCC between 2014 and 2017, we examined official enrollment and graduation data for degree-seeking students enrolling at NCC for the first time, during the fall semester, with a full-time schedule (12+ credit hours).

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