Upward Bound Program to Continue at Johnson State Thanks to 5-Year Grant
The Upward Bound program at Johnson State College has been awarded a five-year, $2.28 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will enable the program to continue its work in northern Vermont serving low- to moderate-income students and those who are the first in their families to attend college.
This year's grant competition was the most competitive ever, with just 780 of 1,500 applications funded nationwide.
"The renewal of our grant exemplifies not only the commitment Johnson State College has made to Upward Bound students, it also speaks to the success of the program itself — and of the local students who have worked so hard to achieve their post-secondary goals," said Tony Blueter, director of Upward Bound at JSC.
JSC has hosted Upward Bound since 1971. It is the oldest program in Vermont of the federally funded TRiO programs that provide outreach and support services for first-generation, college-bound students from modest-income families as well as students with disabilities.
Upward Bound staff work with students and families identified as having the desire and motivation to attend college immediately after high school graduation. It provides college-preparatory experiences, tutoring and other support to help these students succeed in college, based on the philosophy that a college education makes a difference in life.
Each year, JSC Upward Bound works with 102 students from eight northern Vermont high schools who are committed to earning a college degree. Students spend six weeks in the summer living on the JSC campus, where they take academic courses, prepare for the SAT exam, build leadership skills, participate in community service and tour area colleges. During the school year, Upward Bound provides academic guidance, pre-college counseling, leadership activities, access to cultural events and community-service opportunities to students at these same schools. The program is free for eligible students.
Initially launched with three programs, TRiO now encompasses eight federal programs funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In addition to Upward Bound, TRiO programs in Vermont include Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Centers and GEAR UP (all hosted by the Vermont Student Assistance Corportation), the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and college-based student-support services.
Combined, these educational-opportunity programs serve 12,000 students and receive $9 million annually.