UW Upward Bound Program Receives Five

May 16, 2012

A college preparatory program for eligible high school students offered through the University of Wyoming has received federal funding for the next five years.

Upward Bound recently was awarded a yearly $472,432 grant from the U.S. Department of Education through May 2017. The office of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso announced the award.

The federally funded program helps high school students prepare for college. Students must be either low-income or potential first-generation college graduates (neither parent holds a college degree) to participate in the program.

"The goal is to increase the number of these students earning four-year college degrees," says Paul Hesco, project director of the Upward Bound/Math Science Initiative Project (UB/MSIP). "We assist eligible students in preparing for successful entry into college. Program services are provided at no cost to families who meet the eligibility requirements."

The UW UB program serves 105 students in 15 high schools in four Wyoming counties: Albany, Fremont, Laramie and Natrona.

"Receiving this grant means we can continue to provide services to Wyoming high school students. Programs such as these are important to a rural state like Wyoming, where students can be isolated from the resources they need to prepare for, and succeed in, college," Hesco says. "Without our program, most of the students we serve would not consider college to be a reasonable option for their future. It is nice to know that, for five more years, we can continue to send these kids off to college with the skills to be successful."

Each summer, Upward Bound participants attend a six-week residential academy at UW; approximately 50 students participate in the summer program each year. Coordinators and tutors in each of the counties work with the students on a weekly basis, Hesco adds.

"We provide services to the students during the academic year in the form of enrichments and tutoring," he says.

Upward Bound students receive academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, work-study programs, education or counseling services -- designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students -- also are offered.

Among other Upward Bound goals are to raise high school GPAs to a level consistent with college entry; prepare students for successful application and entry into college; and help students and families pursue federal financial aid and other funding sources to attend college.

During the high school year, services include academic advising and tutoring; course planning assistance; career counseling and college visits; ACT exam preparation; cultural, social and enrichment activities; monthly stipends; and scholarship and financial aid advice.

Three Bridge Scholarships for participants that have completed the Upward Bound program also are offered. The all-expenses-paid scholarship allows participants to attend the UW summer session immediately following high school graduation.

Upward Bound is among TRIO Programs offered at UW through Student Educational Opportunity, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs at UW. TRIO Programs are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO offers eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

For more information about the Upward Bound program at UW, contact Hesco at (307) 766-6189 or email phesco@uwyo.edu.

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