CARE program at FSU receives new grant

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Florida State University is well known for its Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement program, also known as CARE.

FSU started CARE in 1968 after the government created the Upward Bound program of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. CARE has been running and changing students’ lives since then. The program is geared around helping first-generation students, especially students of color, feel comfortable about attending a PWI, despite their identity and background.

FSU’s CARE program recently received $1.4 million to expand its Upward Bound program to high school students in Suwannee and Hamilton counties.

Upward Bound is a program to prepare students from low-income backgrounds to graduate from high school, and then graduate from their college of choice.

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Before the grant, FSU’s CARE program only offered Upward Bound opportunities to high school students in Gadsden and Jackson counties; with Jackson County just being added this summer.

“I think the $1.4 million grant is a good step moving forward, the CARE’s program had a great impact on my life when I entered college”, said Tarah Jean, a 2022 spring FSU graduate who now works as a reporter at the Tallahassee Democrat. “Not only did the CARE program help me pay for college, but it also helped me with having a smooth transition into college, with peers that look just like me.”

This program will serve 60 high school students from low-income households from Suwannee and Hamilton counties, 80 students from Gadsden County and 60 from Jackson County. Recruitment for CARE’s Upward Bound program started this November. The $1.4 million grant is being funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

“I feel like the grant is a massive thing because there are a lot of people like me in CARE, and it helps us out with being a first generation student, as well as being able to not worry about funding for college,” said Carmen Albert, an FSU CARE student. “I was also in Upward Bound in high school, so being in both programs has helped me to continue to push through college, and I feel that the grant will give high schoolers that are in the same shoes as me an opportunity at furthering their education.”

This is not the first grant that the CARE program has received. Earlier this year, the program was granted $3.5 million by the Department of Education. Gadsden County’s Upward Bound program received $2.1 million, and Jackson County was granted $1.4 million to initiate its program.

“I am happy for the money granted to FSU’s CARE and Upward Bound programs,” said Melena Hopkins, a FAMU student. “Yes, it is across the tracks, but I love the fact that excellence is being instilled and pushed in communities that are full of minorities.”

Upward Bound has done nothing less than remarkable things for the surrounding counties. Gadsden County had a 100% high school graduation rate in 2020 and 2021, and 80% from both classes enrolled in college after completing their high school diplomas, all thanks to the Upward Bound program. Out of those graduates, 52% of those students enrolled in FSU, and a majority of the other 28% enrolled in FAMU or TCC.