Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

August 2012

OPSU and OSU-OKC Renew Upward Bound Programs


UCO student Jazz Ensemble.
Pictured are OSU-OKC Upward Bound staff and students.

Teri Mora, the Upward Bound director at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, spent countless hours crafting, researching, and writing a new grant for the program and recently found out that the effort paid off and the important, year-round program will continue.

The United States Department of Education (ED) also renewed OSU-Oklahoma City’s Upward Bound grant for an additional five years. The university’s program is one of only 800 of its kind to be funded out of the more than 1,500 applications the ED received.

“We get them ready for life and success on a college campus,” said Francie Moss, OSU-OKC Upward Bound director. “When they step onto a college campus they know the language, they know how to ask questions, they know the unwritten rules and they know who to contact for help.”

Upward Bound also assists the students in completing college and scholarship applications, conducting career assessments, searching for colleges, and provides transportation to colleges to enroll. In addition, the program allows each student the opportunity to take the ACT three times at no cost to them.

“During the summer, students are enrolled in English, science, math and a foreign language to improve academically,” Moss says. “Academics are the main focus of Upward Bound.”

Upward Bound is a federally-funded TRIO program that aims to assist high school students in achieving a college education. Participants are both low-income and first-generation students.

This year, 233 existing programs had their funding cut and only 780 total programs were funded across the United States. Facing tough competition, Mora worked tirelessly to discover ways to meet the grant's new objectives. The new $1,309,000 grant will help support 63 area high school students over the next five years, an increase from the 50 students it served in the past. Upward Bound benefits students living in economically disadvantaged families and/or families in which neither parent finished a four-year college degree. The program's activities assist and encourage the participants to earn a high school diploma and ensure they are ready to enroll in and graduate from college.

The new objectives require tracking all Upward Bound students throughout their college careers, whether or not they even remain in the area. It also requires that a certain percentage of students attain a high school grade point average of 2.5 or above, complete college preparatory classes in high school plus improve their standardized test scores.

In addition to an exciting summer, Upward Bound offers year-round support to participating students throughout their high school years. Once students are accepted into the program they remain in the program until they graduate from high school provided they continue to fulfill the program requirements. After graduation, students are enrolled in six credit hours of summer college classes.

The program is available to eligible students at no cost. Meals, admission costs and transportation needs are all provided by the program during Upward Bound activities. The cost to the student is participation and performance in the program’s activities.

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