West Virginia University’s Upward Bound program was awarded more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education over the next five years to prepare high school students for postsecondary education.
The federally funded TRIO program will serve 60 students from Grafton and Preston County high schools. The $1,287,500 grant will be used to provide programming and services to help students in grades 9-12 overcome academic, social and cultural barriers to earning a college degree.
“Our students have the drive and skills necessary to be successful in college, but Upward Bound provides them with the roadmap they need to get to their final destination of being the first in their families to earn a university diploma,” said Frances Clark, director of the WVU Upward Bound program.
To be eligible for the program, participants must be the first in their families to earn a four-year degree, have a family income at or below 150% of the federal poverty line, and/or be considered academically at-risk by federal definitions; two-thirds of students must be both first-generation college and income-eligible. All services are free to participants.
WVU Upward Bound meets with students once a month at their high schools, hosts Saturday programs on the WVU campus, offers weekly tutoring, and hosts a residential summer program on the WVU campus. The summer program is designed to give students a taste of college life. Students participate in non-credit courses to better prepare them for postsecondary education and to prevent summer learning melt. Eligible students take WVU courses for credit at no cost to them.
For the past 10 years, WVU Upward Bound has served students at three area high schools: Clay-Battelle, Grafton and Preston County. In an effort to expand services and serve more students at each target school, WVU Upward Bound submitted two proposals that would have added services to University High School while continuing to serve Clay-Battelle, Grafton and Preston County high schools. The Clay-Battelle/University High proposal was not funded. Enrolled students will remain active in the program until they graduate from high school, but no new participants will be admitted from Clay-Battelle High School.
“In the end, we find ourselves on uneven ground celebrating with the Knights and Bearcats, and grieving the loss of our Cee-Bees,” said Clark, “but all of our existing participants at CBHS will continue to receive services.”
WVU Upward Bound is currently reviewing applications for admission for fall 2017 from students at Grafton and Preston County high schools.
President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty created Upward Bound to increase the educational access for students from all backgrounds through the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964. Three programs were created between 1964 and 1968, which spawned the term “TRIO” by which the federal funding source is known today; there are currently seven TRIO programs offered nationally, which serve a range a students from middle school to veterans to those preparing for graduate school,
For more information about, or to give to, the WVU Upward Bound program: http://upwardbound.wvu.edu/
CONTACT; Frances Bennett Clark, director of the WVU Upward Bound Program