ETSU Veterans Upward Bound Serving Those Who Served

JOHNSON CITY — For Air Force veteran Sarah Royse, the prospect of going to college after serving her country was exciting — and challenging.

Royse’s mother knew a veteran who had received help from Veterans Upward Bound at East Tennessee State University. Royse decided to join the program herself.

“They helped me figure out all these different scholarships and grants that I was eligible for,” said Royse, now employed at the office as an educational advisor. “I didn’t know there was so much help for veterans until this office started helping me.”

It’s stories like this that associate director Gregory Stout finds deeply fulfilling.

“It always feels good when they come back to us and say they wouldn’t have made it without our program,” he said.

ETSU’s Veterans Upward Bound, part of the federally funded TRIO programs, is a comprehensive organization that helps veterans prepare for college. What the program offers is vast.

Veterans have the opportunity to participate in a range of pre-college courses ranging from literature to basic math, in addition to more advanced computer science courses. Eligible veterans are paid their college tuition, as well as other orientation fees. Staff offer workshops on financial aid and study skills.

“When we help a veteran, we help his family,” Stout said. “We help their community.”

The ETSU program, in operation on campus since 1980, serves veterans living in the Tennessee counties of Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington, as well as Scott and Washington counties in Virginia. To see if you are eligible or to receive more information, call the office at (423) 439-2281 or email

For Royse, connecting to Veterans Upward Bound was key.

“They’ve helped me so much on my journey,” she said.

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