BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University has been awarded a $500,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) to support scholarships for education-focused community college transfer students. Appalachian and East Carolina University (ECU) were the only universities in the state selected to receive funding.
The funds granted to Appalachian are for students who are majoring in or intend to major in education within the Reich College of Education (RCOE) and who wish to teach in their home communities. Individual student grants will be a minimum of $5,000 and up to a maximum of $10,000, depending on need. Each grant is automatically renewable.
RCOE Dean Melba Spooner said, “This investment in the future of educators and education will open many doors and opportunities for community college transfer students to come to Appalachian’s Reich College of Education and study with some of the most energetic, dedicated and student-centered faculty around.”
Spooner continued, “This will be transformational for these future teachers and for their home communities, in which they will, in turn, contribute and inspire.”
At Appalachian, just over 25% of incoming students are transfer students, with 70% of them coming from a community college.
Why this focus for funding?
Appalachian’s grant is part of an $8 million investment by Blue Cross NC to address challenges facing rural areas across the state.
Cheryl Parquet, director of community and diversity engagement at Blue Cross NC, said the company is committed to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. “That’s why we’re investing in programs that support rural areas across the state — helping local leaders, businesses and organizations improve the health of their communities,” she said.
According to the NC Rural Center, about 40% of North Carolinians — around 4 million people — live in one of the state’s 80 rural counties. Rural areas of North Carolina have higher rates of drug and alcohol use, suicide, injury and teen births.
Blue Cross NC’s investment will fund eight programs, made up of nine organizations, that are especially positioned to improve health within the rural areas they serve — from empowering first responders on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, to expanding access to quality care for uninsured patients, to providing health-centered home repairs.
In addition to Appalachian and ECU, the following organizations will receive funding:
- North Carolina Community Action Association.
- North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
- North Carolina Community Colleges.
- North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association.
- North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.
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About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About the Office of Transfer Services
Appalachian State University’s Office of Transfer Services provides the knowledge and resources necessary to empower students through their Appalachian journey by advocating and collaborating to build the bridges necessary for student transition, integration and success. The office provides services for credit evaluation and credit acquisition, transfer advising, mentoring, transitional support, engagement and retention. Recognizing the diversity of transfer students and the wide spectrum of questions and needs, the office supports students’ transition and acclimation to Appalachian through various programming, technology and dedicated customer service support. Learn more at https://transfer.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, 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 more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.