Upward Bound grant helps low-income students succeed in college

Upward Bound students participate in recreational as well as academic events and activities.

July 18, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a federal Upward Bound grant of $664,032 to University Corporation at CSU Monterey Bay. The grant will enable CSUMB to help 134 low-income students become the first in their families to earn college degrees in the next five years.

CSUMB has been supporting and aiding students towards postsecondary success for over a decade. One of the federal TRIO programs, Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in Upward Bound programs are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree.

“It is a pleasure to get the opportunity to continue to serve our community with the Upward Bound grant we were awarded,” said Kim Barber, CSUMB’s director for Pre-college Programs.

“During this vital time when education has been impacted due to the pandemic, it is even more important to have programs such as these to help our students overcome obstacles and challenges to succeed. Education is still a powerful weapon against poverty and a vehicle for a better life for all.”

Campus-based Upward Bound programs instruct students in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students preparing for college entrance exams and tackling admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.

Many Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, among them Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, ABC News correspondent John Quiñones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing.

According to the Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In 2021, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound TRIO projects in the United States.

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal TRIO programs later authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed.

It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions required for college success. It bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities of their college peers, and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

As of 2021, over 3,000 TRIO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants yearly. TRIO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.