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An increased focus on higher education is seen in the development of the Appalachian State University Center at Hickory, a collaborative effort between Appalachian State University and Catawba County's two existing higher education institutes, Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College.

As mentioned above, Catawba County is home to Lenoir Rhyne University, a four-year liberal arts school and Catawba Valley Community College. Additionally, the Appalachian State University Center at Hickory is a joint education center offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, non-credit certificate courses, research, and specialized workforce training through such universities as Appalachian State University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina. The new NC Center for Engineering Technologies provides facilities for applied research in engineering related fields and serves as a conduit to baccalaureate education delivered by the University of North Carolina system schools.


The Catawba County Promise (CCP) is a guaranteed financial aid package worth at least half the cost of tuition at Lenoir-Rhyne University for full-time undergraduate first-year students and transfer students who meet these requirements:

  • Resident of Catawba County (at time of admittance)

  • High school weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher for first-year students

  • College GPA of 3.5 or higher and 30 attempted college hours for transfer students

To learn more about the Promise program, click here.

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