BOONE, N.C. — The Classic Upward Bound and Math–Science Upward Bound programs at Appalachian State University — collectively known as Upward Bound — continue to support high schools students in Western North Carolina with their transition to and success in higher education thanks to funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
Aaron Gersonde, director of the Upward Bound program, which is housed in Appalachian’s College Access Partnerships, received $728,059 in operational funding from ED for the 2018–19 academic year.
“Enrollment in postsecondary education is a crucial piece of the Upward Bound experience during students’ senior year of high school,” Gersonde said. “Ninety percent of Upward Bound graduates typically enroll in a postsecondary institution, compared to a national average of only 25 percent for students of similar educational and familial backgrounds.”
Students in the program are potential first-generation college students and/or meet certain income guidelines. Appalachian’s Upward Bound program serves students attending high schools in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, as well as Freedom High School in Burke County and West Wilkes High School in Wilkes County.
“Upward Bound students connect with Appalachian faculty and graduate students by engaging in summer research and experiential learning opportunities,” Gersonde said. “Through focused mentoring by Appalachian undergraduates, Upward Bound students develop communication skills, participate in service learning and grow in their ability to identify their values and educational goals.”
Additionally, Gersonde said students in the program develop career skills and become involved with the local community through a work-study program.
Services are entirely free to participants and include residential summer academies at Appalachian, tutoring assistance, standardized test preparation, personalized academic advising, college visits, cultural enrichment activities, resume guidance, and assistance with financial aid and the admissions process.
Several regional high school students, teachers and administrators, as well as higher education professionals at Appalachian are involved with the project.
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About College Access Partnerships
Appalachian State University’s College Access Partnerships supports students from the Appalachian region of North Carolina in finding their own distinct path to postsecondary education. This is accomplished by supporting the work of teachers, counselors and educators, along with providing direct services to students. College Access Partnerships offers the Upward Bound and GEAR UP programs, as well as additional resources for students, families and educators. Learn more at https://gocollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.