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Starting Tuesday, Spartanburg Community College — Cherokee County will begin allowing students to purchase tickets to ride the Mission of Grace church van to the local campus. Tickets will be available in packets of 7.5, 10 and 15 weeks for a full academic semester.
“Transportation is a huge barrier to many students. I’m glad this opportunity is available for our students to get rides to our campus,” Spartanburg Community College Executive Director Daryl Smith said.
The college’s Book Inn store will have tickets available on the Cherokee County campus and ongoing at the Book Inn store on the central campus in Spartanburg.
“Bookstore personnel will come over to the Cherokee County campus one day per semester to sell the ticket packets until the program ends,” Smith said. “Students can use their federal or state financial aid to purchase tickets. That will provide Mission of Grace with some reimbursement for the variable cost of the rides.”
Transportation is an obstacle Mission of Grace has worked to eliminate for local residents who do not have access to a vehicle. For the past three years, the church has operated a transportation ministry so students can attend adult education and Spartanburg Community College.
More than 40 adults have been able to earn high school diplomas and attend classes on the college’s Cherokee County branch campus since Mission of Grace started offering transportation three years ago. A total of 27 students have earned their high school equivalency diploma and attend classes at Spartanburg Community College.
Although the tickets won’t completely cover transportation costs, Mission of Grace Pastor Michael Freyta said the new arrangement with Spartanburg Community College will provide another way to meet students’ transportation needs.
“Transportation has always been a hindrance when it comes to getting educated. The Lord has placed this on my heart to help people in our community,” Freyta said. “Spartanburg Community students will now be able to purchase tickets for a ride to and from campus. We are currently transporting three to five students to the college. We are hoping the tickets will allow us to transport as many as 10 to 12 students per day.”
A Cherokee County transportation committee was recently organized to work with the City of Gaffney and community organizations in an effort to ensure transportation is not a barrier towards becoming better educated.