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Aspiring Eagles Academy for Freshmen Awarded $100,000

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has received $100,000 from the Leon Levine Foundation to support the growth and expansion of Aspiring Eagles Academy, a program helping first-generation students in their transition to college. 

The Leon Levine Scholarship will support the Aspiring Eagles Academy summer session, which is offered at no charge to select students who are admitted as freshman for the following fall. Students enrolled in the Aspiring Eagles Academy come from low wealth families or represent the first generation in their family to attend college.

“Through the Aspiring Eagles Academy, we are providing educational access for students who otherwise might not be able to come to college,” said Dean David Hood, of NCCU’s University College. “The program was designed to remove obstacles students may experience as they transition into higher education.”

Family Dollar Stores’ founder Leon Levine and his wife, Sandra, established the Charlotte-based foundation in 1980 to support nonprofits that are making sustainable improvements in education, healthcare, Jewish values and human services, said Andrew Yavorski, senior program associate at the Charlotte-based foundation.

“As a foundation, our goal is to create positive change by investing in programs that address specific community needs,” Yavorski said. “We believe the scholarships for students in NCCU’s Aspiring Eagles Academy will help make higher education attainable for some who may lack that opportunity due to poverty and other social obstacles.”

Students invited into the program have been accepted by the university but, based on test scores and high-school grades, demonstrate gaps in college readiness, Hood said. Students must commit to participating in the program at NCCU for four years.

Established in 2011, Aspiring Eagles Academy has a track record of helping students succeed at higher rates than others with similar test scores and family backgrounds. Students in the program are also more likely to graduate within four years than those in the general student population, Hood said.

In addition to receiving academic counseling and mentoring, Aspiring Eagles can earn eight academic credit hours during their summer session on campus. About 40 students are enrolled in the academy each summer.

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
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