Counterbalance Overview

Counterbalance came about after concerned members of the A-B Tech campus community noticed a trend where historically marginalized students, also known as underserved student populations, were disproportionately represented on the past due balance list and in deregistration processes. This inequity has a direct impact on the enrollment, retention, and success of our underserved students. In response, Counterbalance was designed as a program to help decrease the support services barriers and financial barriers our students experience, in order to increase your overall success while here at A-B Tech. In other words, we don’t want access to supportive resources to prevent students from receiving a quality education that can lead to limitless career possibilities.


How do I know if I qualify for the Counterbalance Project?

To be eligible to participate in the Counterbalance Project, you must be a student from an underserved population:

  • A student who is living in poverty or is served by schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty.
  • A student of color.
  • A student who is a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe.
  • An English learner.
  • A child or student with a disability.
  • A disconnected youth.
  • A migrant student.
  • A student experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.
  • A lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex (LGBTQ+) student.
  • A student who is in foster care.
  • A student without documentation of immigration status.
  • A pregnant, parenting, or caregiving student.
  • A student impacted by the justice system, including a formerly incarcerated student.
  • A student who is the first in their family to attend postsecondary education.
  • A student enrolling in or seeking to enroll in postsecondary education for the first time at the age of 20 or older.
  • A student who is working full-time while enrolled in postsecondary education.
  • A student who is enrolled in or is seeking to enroll in postsecondary education who is eligible for a Pell Grant.
  • An adult student in need of improving their basic skills or an adult student with limited English proficiency.
  • A student performing significantly below grade level.


  • Be a student who:
  • Owes a balance to A-B Tech prior to 2020
  • Is currently on the list to be deregistered from class(es) due to nonpayment
  • In need of financial support or is experiencing financial hardship
  • In need of supportive services


Be a student who lives in one of the 18 counties of Western North Carolina or the Qualla Boundary, including:

  • Avery
  • Buncombe
  • Burke
  • Cherokee
  • Clay
  • Graham
  • Haywood
  • Henderson
  • Jackson
  • Macon
  • Madison
  • McDowell
  • Mitchell
  • Polk
  • Rutherford
  • Swain
  • Transylvania
  • Yancey