SOAR (Support Options for Achievement and Retention) is a TRIO Student Support Services Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of the SOAR Program is to provide academic, personal, career, and financial preparation and services to students who are from a low-income background, are first-generation college, and/or have a documented disability. Our program focuses on students’ assets and helping them understand how to use those assets to navigate college and successfully complete their educational goals.


General Information

SOAR Program Location

SOAR is located at MCC’s Spruce Pine campus, on the second floor of Gwaltney Hall, near the LRC and across from the math lab. (maps).

Hours of Operation

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Mondays–Thursdays
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Fridays (During summer, MCC is closed on Fridays)

How to Contact SOAR

Telephone: 828.766.1263 or 800.4.MAYLAND
Mail: Post Office Box 547, Spruce Pine, NC 28777


Debbie StaffordDebbie Stafford, Director
828.766.1281 or 800.4.MAYLAND
Debra CagleDebra Cagle, Administrative Assistant
Dora Smith, Transfer Counselor
828.766.1260 or 800.4.MAYLAND
Jeannette Murray, Personal/Academic Counselor
Elizabeth HardyElizabeth Hardy, Supplemental English Instructor
Sandy PierceSandy Pierce, Supplemental Math Instructor

SOAR Services

  • Academic Advising
  • Tutoring
  • Transfer Advising and Transfer Trips 
  • Study and Learning Skills Development
  • College Resource Development
  • Academic/Personal Empowerment
  • Mid-Term Progress Checks
  • Social and Cultural Opportunities
  • Financial Resources and Money Management
  • Assistive Programs/Agencies Referrals
  • Computer Lab and Lab Assistance 
  • Disability Services and Referral

SOAR Program Requirements

 Students must qualify for admission into the SOAR Program by meeting one of the following:

  • Neither parent has a BA or BS degree.
  • Low income by Federal guidelines
  • A documented disability that requires academic support

Also, you must be pursuing your first college degree (or diploma) and be able to complete your degree (or diploma) within a four-year period. 

SOAR Handbook and Forms to Download

These forms are in the Adobe Acrobat PDF format. They require Adobe Acrobat Reader, a FREE computer application which can be downloaded downloaded. Once you have Acrobat, you can download the documents below by clicking on the underlined link, and you will see the pdf document inside a window. To print your documents, click Ctrl + P on a PC or Command + P on a Mac. To save your documents, click Ctrl + S on a PC or Command + S on a Mac. 

SOAR Handbook

The SOAR Handbook explains the program services and requirements. You can download the Handbook, then when  you open the Handbook in Acrobat Reader, click the "bookmarks" tab to see a table of contents that will allow you to skip to sections you want to read.

SOAR Program Application

To apply to the SOAR program, download the application, print it, fill it out, and turn it in to the SOAR Office.

SOAR Study P.L.U.S. (Productive Learning Utilizing Strategies) Groups Form 

Study P.L.U.S. groups are learning communities that provide intensive training in study skills and learning strategies. Study P.L.U.S. groups promote active learning and positive academic mindsets. In Study P.L.U.S. groups, students benefit not only from study skills training, but also partnerships with other students, peer mentors, and counselors. To apply for a Study P.L.U.S. group, click here.

SOAR Tutor Request Application Form

If you would like a tutor, you can fill out the Request for Tutoring form. You will need to complete the form, print it, and turn it in to the SOAR Office. You can download the application here.

Tutor Opportunities!

Whether you are a SOAR member or not, you can apply to be a tutor for the SOAR Program. Just complete this form and submit it to the SOAR Program office.