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CONTACT:  www.tctc.edu/scwins or info@tctc.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           11/12/2019

                                                                                                            (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Kaelyn Minick was stunned – and equally grateful  -- when she received her billing notice for the upcoming spring semester at Tri-County Technical College and saw a zero balance.

By qualifying for both the Lottery Tuition Assistance and the new South Carolina Workforce and Industry Needs Scholarship (SC WINS) funding, the Medical Assisting major will attend Tri-County tuition free next semester.  “My dad is self employed and has been recuperating from rotator cuff surgery for the past year and a half, which prohibited him from working full time. When I told him about the scholarships, he was so thankful.  He is saving a huge amount that he would have paid out of pocket,” said Minick. 

Individuals can attend Tri-County tuition free if they qualify for Lottery Tuition Assistance and the SCWINS scholarship, are a resident of Anderson, Oconee or Pickens counties and are enrolled in classes in these critical workforce fields:

Engineering Technology

Health Care

Information Technology

Recipients can be full- and part-time Tri-County students.

By qualifying for the scholarships, Minick, of Clemson, will not be saddled with debt when she graduates in August 2020.

Introduced last year, SCWINS is a statewide technical college scholarship program designed to address workforce shortages.

Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA) and SC WINS recently were increased for Spring Semester 2020. LTA has increased from $100/credit hour to $110/credit.

SC WINS has increased from $50/credit hour to $100/credit hour with a limit of $2,500 per academic year per student. In addition, those students qualifying for SC WINS by major are eligible to receive up to $300 in a book allowance. Information about and eligibility for SC WINS can be found at www.tctc.edu/scwins.

Spring semester begins January 6, 2020, but the deadline to submit all admissions requirements is Wednesday December 18, 2019.  The College can help prospective students through the enrollment process.  Contact 864-646-1550 or info@tctc.edu for more information.

 “This opportunity gives residents a path to economic mobility by enabling them to get the education needed for in-demand careers – not just a job,” said Adam Ghiloni, director of financial aid at Tri-County. “College can be affordable and manageable for both full- and part-time students pursuing degrees, diplomas and certificates at all of our campuses.”

Affordability isn’t the only reason Kaelyn is happy with her decision to attend Tri-County.  She prefers the small classroom size Tri-County offers as opposed to the university-style lecture hall that can accommodate more than 300 students.

“The thought of a class size of 300 gave me anxiety so I toured Tri-County.  I really like the smaller classes and the campus.  It’s easy to navigate and the faculty and staff are really friendly.”

The 21-year-old Columbia native – and Clemson Tigers fan -- graduated from Dutch Fork High School in Irmo in 2016.   Initially she was interested in pursuing an associate degree in nursing and applied at Midlands Technical College but was placed on a waiting list. 

In the interim period, she discovered Tri-County.  At the same time, she was accepted to a year-long Disney College program at Disney World.

She had two days to decide whether she would spend a year working and living at Disney World, or preparing for a career by beginning her education at Tri-County Technical College.

“I have a strong desire to enter the health care field. I definitely made the right decision,” said Minick.  The medical field has always interested her because her sister was born three months prematurely and she vividly remembers the seven weeks the baby spent in NICU before being discharged. “My mom and I got really close with the NICU nurse and I was even in her wedding.”

Minick took health science classes during her junior and senior years in high school and after graduating she moved to the area and began her general education classes at Tri-County, hoping to enter the associate degree nursing program.  Due to the large volume of applications that year, she wasn’t admitted to the program. “I talked with Bailey Woods (health education admissions liaison), who walked me through my options and then personally introduced me to Laura McClain, Medical Assisting program director.  I met with her and the more she talked, the more medical assisting appealed to me –  working 9 – 5 in an office setting with a mix of administrative and clinical duties along with lab work.  It offers the best of both worlds,” she said. 

“I made a personal connection with Mrs. McClain and have found other mentors in instructors and fellow classmates. I have a support system of instructors and peers -- we support each other and can rely on each other,” she said.        

Medical assisting graduates are cross trained in every area of ambulatory care.  Their duties range from hands-on patient care, under physician and nursing supervision, to front office duties.

Clinical training includes checking a patient’s vital signs, phlebotomy, calculating, preparing and administering medications, EKGs, laboratory work, specimen collection and processing and assisting with minor surgical procedures.  They also are certified in first aid and CPR while in the program.  Students also are prepared to work as office managers and can continue to obtain IV certification once they obtain national certification.  Graduates work in a variety of doctor’s offices, such as cardiology, neuroscience units, internal medicine, OB-GYN and dermatology.   They also can work in urgent care clinics.

After graduating next summer, Minick wants to work in a physician’s office and continue her education to earn a nursing degree.

“Eventually I want to study to be a nurse practitioner.  I can do it – because Tri-County is a good place to start,” she said.