Saint Augustine’s College Educational Talent Search receives nearly $405,000

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The Saint Augustine's University Educational Talent Search Project has been selected to receive funding from the federal Department of Education. The college’s Educational Talent Search Project will receive a $404,981 grant for the budget period of Sept. 1, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012. The program will be funded for five years.

The Educational Talent Search is one of the federal TRIO programs created by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his War on Poverty. TRIO programs include Upward Bound and Student Support Services, which is known as Academic Achievers at Saint Augustine's University.

The goal of Educational Talent Search is to provide students with the information and the tools they need to apply for and enroll in higher education. Saint Augustine's University’s program, which was established in 1970, serves low-income and first generation university students in Edgecombe, Nash, Halifax, Martin, Franklin, Vance, Warren and Northampton counties.

Ninety percent of the seniors who come through the program enroll in a two- or four-year college, or a trade school, said Antonio Stephens, director of the Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs.

Brandi Whitaker, a senior at Rocky Mount Senior High, and Xavier Bunch, a sophomore at Rocky Mount Prep, both say they feel they have an edge over their peers because they’ve participated in TRIO programs.

“(The program) taught me that I can’t be lazy,” Whitaker said. “You have to be determined, even if that means getting up early on a Saturday or giving up your summers.”

Bunch said he already knows he wants to major in business administration and work with computers like his dad. He said the program has taught him he has to be dedicated.

“If you are going to make a good life, you have to work hard,” Bunch said.

“Saint Augustine's University is committed to educating and preparing a new generation of leaders and change agents,” said President Dianne Boardley Suber. “The efforts of the Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs are in line with the University’s mission, and renewed funding from the Department of Education allows us to continue offering this valuable service to young people in northeastern North Carolina.”

About Saint Augustine's University
Saint Augustine's University, established in 1867, is a four-year historically black university in Raleigh, N.C. With an average annual enrollment of 1,500, the University offers 30 undergraduate degree programs in five academic divisions. Saint Augustine's University is accredited by the Commission on Universitys of the Southern Association of Universitys and Schools.

Photo caption: Rocky Mount Prep sophomore Xavier Bunch says the Upward Bound program has given him an edge over his peers in his university preparation.