SYLVA – In an effort to make sure financial hardships don’t prevent students from completing their degrees, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has committed a gift of $10,000 to support Southwestern Community College’s Student Emergency Fund and Student Success Scholarship.

The Student Emergency Fund helps students when they encounter unexpected expenses, such as automobile repairs, that might otherwise make it impossible for them to remain in school.

Likewise, the Student Success Scholarship brings a college education within reach for multiple students every year through the SCC Foundation.

“Training the next generation of workers is important to improving health in North Carolina and giving more North Carolinians the opportunity to be healthy, especially in our state’s rural and underserved communities,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Community Engagement and Marketing Activation for Blue Cross NC. “Community colleges help strengthen the state’s workforce. With this investment, we’re helping students who face financial burdens that make it difficult to advance their careers.”

Founded in 1964, Southwestern offers training for more than 40 career pathways as well as the most affordable option for starting toward a four-year degree. Southwestern students save thousands of dollars in their first two years, compared to a four-year university.

“On behalf of all our students, we are deeply grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for their generosity,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President. “Our goal is to be able to offer a hand up to every student who needs one, and every gift like this one brings us closer to making that dream a reality.”

For more info about Blue Cross NC, visit

For more information about Southwestern and the programs it offers, visit, call 828.339.4000 or drop by your nearest SCC location.


For more than 55 years, Southwestern Community College has served Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties, and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina by providing a wide range of educational options for residents in all stages of life. 

SCC has been ranked among the nation’s Top 10 community colleges six times in the last 15 years – including a No. 1 ranking in’s listing of the “Best Community Colleges & Trade Schools of 2020.”

Through a supportive learning environment, Southwestern offers more than 40 degree programs (including more than 90 credentialing options, 28 of which are offered online) in Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences/College Transfer and Career Technologies.  

A variety of community resources - including the Small Business Center, Workforce Continuing Education and Career Services - are also available.