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UNG awarded $2.6 million for Upward Bound program

UNG will partner with Gilmer County High School and Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia, to help students prepare for college.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has been awarded a total of $2.6 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound Program to help promising low-income high school students in Hall and Gilmer counties prepare for college.

UNG will partner with Gilmer County High School and Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia, to provide 120 students annually with tutoring, counseling and advising to help them succeed academically.

“Part of UNG’s mission is to increase educational attainment across northeast Georgia and strengthen the region's economy,” UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs said. “Through these grants and the Upward Bound program, we will be able to provide vital support to students in our region as they prepare for higher education and future career opportunities.”

Johnson High is located within one mile of UNG’s Gainesville Campus, and the Upward Bound partnership allows students from the school to be groomed for college success at a much earlier stage.

"This funding will allow UNG to better serve students from economically disadvantaged households and increase their access to post-secondary education," said Sheila Caldwell, director for UNG's Complete College Georgia program and primary lead of the grant for Johnson High. "By serving this very high-need school, we will be able to use our resources strategically and intensely to prepare these students for college success,"

Gilmer County High is located in Ellijay, Georgia, a rural mountain community served by UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus.

"Introducing the Upward Bound program in Gilmer County has the potential to greatly increase the progression of low-income students and first-generation college students through the academic pipeline," said Sandy Ott, director of UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus and primary lead of the grant for Gilmer County High.

Through Upward Bound, UNG will provide mentoring, parent engagement, state assessment preparation, career exploration, cultural experiences, and college visits to each high school participant of the program.

UNG chose to collaborate with the selected high schools for this program to build upon its existing partnerships with both.

At UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus, students from Gilmer and the surrounding communities may participate in a signature program called the Blue Ridge Scholars, which groups first-time freshmen as a cohort and provides integrated instruction and support.

UNG’s Gainesville Campus is a supporting partner of the Jobs for Georgia Graduates program. Working with Johnson High as one of the state’s pilot schools, UNG provides classroom instruction and leadership development to help reduce the dropout rate among at-risk youth.

More than 62,000 high school students around the country receive services through Upward Bound, which works to inspire low-income, first-generation, and rural students to attend college.

The U.S. Department of Education reports 86 percent of Upward Bound students who graduated from high school in the spring of 2014 enrolled in college that fall. The department issued $263 million in Upward Bound grants in fiscal year 2015.

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