UConn’s Upward Bound program has been awarded nearly $1.2 million over the next four years from the U.S. Department of Education.
The pre-college program helps prepare and motivate academically at-risk youth from high schools in Hartford, New Haven, and Windham.
The University’s Upward Bound program is one of only four in the state to receive funding this year, according to Maria Martinez, director of the Center for Academic Programs.
The grant process, which occurs every four years, is highly competitive.
“This particular cycle of grant writing was extremely difficult, due to the Department of Higher Education’s emphasis on eliminating programs that are deemed inadequate or ineffective,” says Martinez.
“However, the more pressing issue for the Department has been its budgetary objective to reduce the per student cost.”
About 100 programs did not receive funding this cycle.
Martinez says UConn’s program has been successful in meeting the goals of motivating students to finish high school and ensuring that students are placed in a college or university of their choice.
Currently 100 percent of students in the University’s Upward Bound program graduate high school, and on average, 95 percent of them enroll in a post-secondary institution, with an 85 percent graduation rate.
“UConn benefits greatly from having this successful pre-college program, since it promotes the University’s strategic goals for community outreach, recruitment, and diversity,” Martinez says.
Students in Upward Bound are selected during the ninth grade, and attend programs at UConn during the summer following their 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.
They must meet guidelines set by federal and state governments.
The six-week residential program at UConn places emphasis on literature, composition, foreign languages, science, and math. During the school year, the Upward Bound students are engaged in social, recreational, and career-related activities, in conjunction with tutoring, developmental workshops, and weekly team meetings.