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Welcome to CAPS Outreach Center

The College Access and Persistence Services (CAPS) Outreach Center is a product of years of securing external funding in support of outreach services to help students overcome social, academic, financial, and cultural barriers in higher education.

Research has shown that major problems exist in recruiting and retaining low-income and first-generation students in postsecondary education programs. Although 24 percent of all undergraduate students are low-income and first-generation, they are four times more likely to leave higher education after the first year than students who have neither of these risk factors. In other words, statistics indicate that individuals who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly less likely to pursue a postsecondary education successfully than their more privileged counterparts.

Therefore, it is fitting that the goal of the CAPS Outreach Center is to provide services to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare them to succeed in postsecondary or professional academic programs. To accomplish this goal, the CAPS Outreach Center provides activities to strengthen the math and science skills of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields; to assist students in succeeding in pre-college preparation, college admissions, and financial aid application processes; and ultimately, to provide the skills and motivation necessary for completing college graduation requirements. Similar activities also assist adults and military veterans who have no baccalaureate degrees. The new CAPS Outreach Center is funded in its entirety by external funds. Approximately 60,000 students have been served for more than thirty years by project staff, and new opportunities for funding are continually reviewed to identify grants that will expand the number of students we serve in the future.

You are invited to participate as partners with us in our work, just as many other local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit agencies have done in the past.

Dr. Ernest W. Brewer
Professor and
PI/CAPS Outreach Director


Discover the exciting programs and services provided by the CAPS Outreach Center. Students, staff, and community partners are actively engaged in promoting college enrollment and the completion of postsecondary education programs among low-income and first-generation students.

Success Stories

CAPS helps students succeed as they discover their potential and explore opportunities they never knew existed. They experience important facets of college life while still in high school, gain exposure to academic, cultural, and social experiences to improve their quality of life, and advance to successful careers. Each of our programs has their own success stories.

"Upward Bound is giving me the chance to advance in high school by taking college prep courses now. But the best part is making new friends. By being together here, we can help each other succeed. Iā€™m just grateful for this program.ā€

ā€” Manuel Ramos, 14, wants to be a graphic artist

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.