April 10, 2008

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Valdosta State Secures Competitive $1 Million Grant

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University’s Department of Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs secured a competitive $1 million federal grant to introduce at-risk Valdosta High School students to university life and encourage them to pursue secondary education.

Last fall, the department submitted a proposal to be considered for the Upward Bound Program - one of six programs developed by the United States Department of Education to help low-income, disabled and first generation college students progress through the academic pipeline. Upward Bound will allocate $250,000 annually to VSU during the next four years to fund a six-week summer experience at VSU for about 60 area high school students. The grant will also support continued tutoring and academic advising for program participants until they complete high school.

During the six-week summer program - two weeks of which is spent living in campus residence halls - the 60 students will attend workshops on a variety of topics, including personal development and academic survival skills. One-on-one tutoring as well as social and academic activities similar to freshman welcome events will be held to help students picture themselves as part of a university.

“One of the strategic goals of this university is to increase recruitment into higher education, so a part of that effort has to be going into our high schools, junior high schools and middle schools to help those schools prepare their students to achieve college admission requirements,” Maggie Viverette, the director of Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs, said. “Particularly at-risk students, many of them might not know college is even a possibility for them. No one has directed them to supportive resources or given them the needed encouragement.”

The department is in the process of hiring an energetic staff to develop and support a summer program, held from June 23 to Aug. 1, which will provide students with a solid foundation on which to prepare them to finish high school and successfully transition to college life. Staff will provide instruction in core curriculum and expose students to cultural and academic programming.

“A big part of this program is to bring students to a college campus and to get them used to the campus so they realize that they too can pursue secondary education,” Viverette said. “We’re extremely excited about the two weeks that students get to live in residence halls. That, in addition to the education and social programs, will give them the true campus experience.“

For more information about the Upward Bound program, call the department at (229) 333-5463 or e-mail Viverette at mviverette@valdosta.edu.

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