Upward Bound is a federally funded educational program within the United States. The program is one of a cluster of programs referred to as TRIO, all of which owe their existence to the federal Higher Education Act of 1965. Upward Bound programs are implemented and monitored by the United States Department of Education. The goal of Upward Bound is to provide certain categories of high school students better opportunities for attending college. The categories of greatest concern are those with low income, those with parents who did not attend college, and those living in rural areas. The program works through individual grants, each of which covers a restricted geographic area and provide services to approximately 50 to 100 students annually.
The program was launched in 1965 after the enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It has an annual budget around $250,000,000. Grants are usually made to institutes of higher education (universities), but some awards have been made to other non-profit organizations such as tribal organizations. Each award made averages $4,691 per participant, with the most common award providing $220,000 per grantee in 2004 and $250,000 in 2007. Awards are for four or five years and are competitive. The law providing for Upward Bound is 34 CFR Ch. VI Pt. 645. As federal education grants, Upward Bound awards fall under EDGAR and OMB Circular A-21 financial guidelines.
Upward Bound grants are results-based, with the level of success determined largely from highly-structured annual reports compared to grant objectives. The program is available to students after their eighth grade of school. Two-thirds of selected applicants must be low-income and "potential first-generation college students," with the remaining third of students meeting one of the requirements.
Most Upward Bound programs combine two approaches to student contact:
- A summer program where high school students take college prep classes and earn work experience at a college campus for six weeks.
- Weekly follow ups and possibly tutoring with students during the school year.
Several studies have shown that TRIO Upward Bound is tremendously successful. A study released by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in 2004 provides a detailed analysis of program demographics. Notable alumni of the Upward Bound program include Oprah Winfrey, John Quiñones, Angela Bassett, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Jose Hernandez, Donna Brazile, Patrick Ewing, Henry Bonilla, and Viola Davis. It has also been effective in gaining acceptance for its teaching methods, as in the case of the low-tech and low-cost approach used in the 1980s by its astronomy program for high school students in southern California, that was subsequently adopted by Dr Daniel Barth at Mount San Jacinto College.
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