WCU’s Project Discovery gets grant renewal from U.S. Department of Education

Project Discovery students take part in Bike Across America 2016.

Project Discovery students take part in Bike Across America 2016.

Western Carolina University’s Talent Search program, Project Discovery, recently had its grant with the U.S. Department of Education renewed at $368,160 per year for five years. The first budget period begins Sept. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2017.

Project Discovery identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Many of them become first generation college students. Project Discovery currently works with 767 students from six high schools and six middle schools in Western North Carolina, program director Todd Murdock said.

The participating schools are Swain County middle and high schools, Andrews middle and high schools, Cherokee middle and high schools, Madison County middle and high schools, and Erwin middle and high schools.

“We’re just looking forward to being able to continue services to the schools and the students in the region,” Murdock said.

Students typically enter the program in sixth or seventh grade, Murdock said. About 80 percent of those students go on to some type of post-secondary education. While in the program, students receive academic, career and financial counseling.

“Basically, what we do is we help students go to college,” Murdock said. “We do a lot of college awareness, financial planning and financial literacy. We also help with SAT and ACT registration and preparation and college admissions requirements and applications.

For more information about Project Discovery, contact Murdock at tmurdock@wcu.edu or 828-227-7137.