The Murray Family ACCESS Program is Appalachian State University's promise to low-income North Carolina students that higher education is within reach. Students who earn a place at App State and are selected for the ACCESS scholarship and support program have the opportunity to graduate debt-free.
Learn more about how ACCESS is making a difference in the lives of students.
The Murray Family ACCESS Program was generously funded by Walter and Martha Ann Murray in 2008. Since that time, they have continued to provide additional funding to support the academic and non-academic needs of ACCESS students and ensure their continued success. To date, the Murrays have helped more than 400 students graduate debt-free, and ACCESS students maintain a graduation rate that is well above the comparable national average.
Walter, the retired president of Murray Supply Company who passed away in 2022, and Martha Ann, a longstanding education advocate, received the App State Alumni Association's Honorary Alumni Award in 2014. The award commends their strong commitment to the university's mission and outstanding service to App State. They have also cultivated a multigenerational legacy of support for the university — from their son, Charles Murray '87, a former member of the App State Board of Trustees, to their grandchildren, Rebecca Murray '15 '20, Samuel Murray '17, and current student Stephen Leverton.
In order to be eligible for the ACCESS program, a student must be a first-time freshman at Appalachian, attend full time (12 semester hours or more each semester), be a resident of North Carolina, and their guardians' adjusted gross income (AGI) cannot exceed 100% of the federal poverty guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services each year. Additionally, a student's EFC (expected family contribution) must be zero after Verification of the student's filing of the FAFSA.
Connect with ACCESS
ACCESS offers its scholars a four-year university education at Appalachian without student loans. Specifically, the ACCESS program supplements federal financial aid grants, state grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial assistance with sufficient funds to cover the cost of institutional charges (tuition, fees, room, board, and health insurance). In addition, ACCESS students have the opportunity to have a work-study job to help with personal expenses.
- Submit the Application for Admission by November 1 and submit all supporting material, such as transcripts and test scores by November 15.
- Complete the FAFSA by December 1.
- Complete RDS (Residency Determination Service) - you must be considered an in-state student to be considered for ACCESS.
- Review starts at the end of the first week of January (holidays excluded).
Academic & Personal Support
Along with the financial assistance for students, a comprehensive program of Academic and Personal Support is a part of Appalachian's ACCESS program. ACCESS recognizes the challenges and obstacles many of our college students face and we offer support services to help our students adapt to their new campus life and reach their educational goals.
Services offered to all ACCESS students include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Academic advising and personal support. All ACCESS students take part in orientation sessions led by our staff members which help our students get better acquainted with our program and Appalachian State as a whole. Each ACCESS student is assigned an ACCESS advisor who will assist the student with both academic and personal needs until graduation.
- Mentoring. New students are paired with a graduate-level mentor for their first year at Applachian. Mentors provide the students with academic help, career exploration assistance, and emotional support.
- Professional development opportunities. ACCESS shares workshops and information on a variety of topics such as career preparation, study abroad, getting involved, FAFSA, and self-care, to name a few.
- College Success Course. All first-year ACCESS students enroll in a 2-hr course designed to build community among ACCESS students and discuss topics related to success as a college student.
- Priority Registration. ACCESS students who have completed program requirements are able to have priority registration, which allows them to register extra early for classes.
- Guaranteed Housing. ACCESS students who choose to stay on campus after their first year are guaranteed a room on campus.
- Social events. ACCESS provides its students with the opportunity to attend social functions in order to promote a sense of community and connection outside of the classroom.