- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A Raleigh couple is giving North Carolina State University $3 million to start a program to help rural students get into the school.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported (http://bit.ly/1iv6eQ6) that the gift from Joseph and Deborah Kapp Gordon is designed to increase the chance of admission for rural students, as well as helping them afford to stay in school.

The Gordons say they want to help offset the rising cost of education and tougher admission requirements. They own a group of animal hospitals.

Joseph Gordon points out that North Carolina State is a land-grant university and the school should help people from rural areas. The veterinarian is a 1986 graduate of the school.

The “Farm to Philanthropy” program will start by helping students prepare for standardized college entrance exams. The program includes mentoring through the county North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. The gift will help expand the offering.

A second aspect of the program will help students who start their education at a state community college or another university transfer to North Carolina State. Those who complete that program will be guaranteed admission to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in their sophomore year.

The program also offers scholarships to help students graduate debt free.

“We have people who finished owing $100,000, and I can’t imagine how any young person can start out in life with that level of debt,” said Deborah Gordon, referring to some students who have graduated from North Carolina State and come to work at one of the couple’s animal hospitals.

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Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com