About Us


Welcome to College Access Partnerships at Appalachian State University. We are here to support students from the Appalachian region of NC to find their own unique path to postsecondary education. We accomplish this by supporting the work of teachers, counselors, and educators, along with providing direct services to students. Please consider bringing a group of students to campus, this is the very best way to help kids begin to see themselves as 'college material'. We love to have kids from K-10th on campus to show them how different higher education is from what they experience. Whether you bring students here or to another campus we have tools and resources to help! Check out our Staff Resources under GEAR UP for toolkits for family programming, college visits and more. We have resources for students and families as well to explore options for choosing and paying for college. If you can't find what you are looking for regarding college access please use our contact form to send us a question.

College Access Partnerships is made up of several large federal grants, GEAR UP and Upward Bound. We believe the best way for our region to grow economically is to educate our students beyond high school. Our job, collectively, is to help students explore possibilities for careers and then match those aspirations to degree programs at the local community college or a four-year university.

Thanks for visiting us and making a difference in the lives of students!


All students of the North Carolina Appalachian region will be college ready.


The office of College Access Partnerships is committed to building strategic partnerships to strengthen our local communities through college access and success. 



GEAR UP is a federally funded college access program designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education immediately after high school.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound

Upward Bound provides academic support to high school students so they may complete high school, enroll in college, and successfully obtain a college degree.

Who do we serve?

The College Access Partnerships serve multiple counties in Western North Carolina. Many of these counties are classified as high need in the Public School Forum's NC Center for Aftershool Programs Roadmap of Need Report - 2013 (PDF, 1.8 MB).

map of counties served by College Access Partnerships

2011 Appalachian State GEAR UP Partnership Results

High School Graduates' Postsecondary Enrollment Results

GEAR UP (a partnership GEAR UP grant) was funded in 2005 and served 3 school districts in North Carolina, which were identified as having at least 50% of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch at their target middle schools. The goal of the program is to increase the number of students who graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary education. GEAR UP served students in 9th through 12th grades during the 2010-2011 academic year, the final year of the program.

About the College Access Partnerships Network

The purpose of the College Access Partnerships at Appalachian State University is to extend the services established by the Appalachian Higher Education Network on the Appalachian State University campus. Specifically, this project identifies, assesses, and disseminates practices that improve college access and student success throughout the Appalachian region. The College Access Partnerships are housed at Appalachian State University in partnership with University of North Carolina-Asheville and Western Carolina University and serve the entire Appalachian region of North Carolina.

List of Participating Schools

Several Western North Carolina schools received mini-grants from 2006-12.

College Access Partnerships Annual Report