A student uses a metal detector while other students look at the grass.
Students can receive forgivable loans to earn an AAS in Criminal Justice Technology in return for working in the field for four years.

Fellows Program Provides Criminal Justice Students with New Opportunity

Students who are interested in a career in criminal justice have a new opportunity to go to college at a minimal cost to them. The North Carolina Department of Justice is currently accepting applications for its new Criminal Justice (CJ) Fellows Program, with the application deadline being April 15, 2019 for students enrolling in a program for fall of 2019.

The criminal justice technology program at Beaufort County Community College prepares students for careers in law enforcement, crime scene investigation, parole and probation, and corrections. The new CJ Fellows Program offers forgivable loans to students who work toward an Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology. In exchange, students commit to working in law enforcement or corrections for four years in an eligible county after graduation.

“This is a great opportunity for students who want to attend BCCC for criminal justice,” said Crystal Watts, lead professor for criminal justice technology. “Most of our students already plan to work locally after graduating, and now this program can help them go to college at little cost to them. We’re fortunate in that our students can choose to work anywhere in our service area, and even some surrounding counties to qualify.”

The fellows program seeks high school graduates who exhibit high academic achievement, a history of school or community service and interest in the field. The program will pay for up to $1216 in tuition, $60 in fees and $300 in books per semester for a total of four semesters, meaning students can qualify for up to $6300 in loans.

To qualify for loan forgiveness, students will commit to working in criminal justice positions at law enforcement agencies in eligible counties including Beaufort, Bertie, Chowan, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington, as well as other rural counties across the state. This could be a police department, sheriff’s department or state prison, including Hyde Correctional Institute, Tyrrell Prison Work Farm, Pamlico Correctional Institute or Bertie Correctional Institute. Fellows are also given priority seating in a training academy.

These eligible positions are defined by state statute and may change over time so students should enquire about specific positions when they apply. Students who are interested in the program should apply with the N.C. Department of Justice, or contact BCCC’s Crystal Watts at 252-940-6268.