East Central University’s Upward Bound program has received a five-year grant renewal to partner with 12 area high schools in helping low-income individuals and potential first-generation college students pursue and obtain a higher-education degree.
The federal grant, valued at $2,537,825 (or 507,565 per year), gives the Upward Bound program the tools to work with 120 individuals, who will be selected with the assurance that at least two-thirds of those served will qualify as both low-income individuals and potential first-generation college students. The remaining one-third will, at the time of acceptance, qualify as either low-income, potential first generation college students or an individual who has a high risk for academic failure.
The following 12 Oklahoma high schools will be partners in the programs: Allen High School, Byng High School, Calvin High School, Coalgate High School, Crowder High School, Konawa High School, Moss High School in Holdenville, Pauls Valley High School, Sasakwa High School, Tupelo High School, Vanoss High School and Wynnewood High School.
ECU’s Upward Bound Program will provide the following required services: academic tutoring; advice and assistance in secondary and postsecondary course selection; preparation for college entrance exams; information on federal student financial aid programs which include Federal Pell grant awards; loan forgiveness and scholarships and assistance completing financial aid applications which includes Federal Student Aid; guidance on and assistance in secondary school re-entry, alternative education programs for secondary school dropouts that lead to a receipt of a regular secondary school diploma, and entry into economics literacy of the students or the student’s parent, including financial planning for postsecondary education; core curriculum in the next and succeeding years instruction in mathematics through pre-calculus, laboratory science, foreign language, composition and literature.
Permissible services provided will include exposure to cultural events and academic programs, instruction design, on-campus residential programs, mentoring programs and workshops.
Programs and activities will be designed for participants who are limited English proficient, traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individual with disabilities, participants who are homeless children and youths, participants who are aging out of foster care, or other disconnected participants.
“We have such a long, strong history here with ECU. The program has been going since 1966 and we had one of the first Upward Bound programs,” said Dannie Patton, Director of ECU’s Upward Bound program. “We serve as many as 110 students. Last year, we had 14 kids from the Upward Bound program attend East Central University.”
Patton credits Upward Bound project coordinators Tonya Harrell and Dee Stoup with the success of the program.
Upward Bound has recently offered classes in Physics, Zoology, Spanish, Physical Education, and Algebra to name a few.
Upward Bound has also worked closely with ECU international students, who have taught classes on their respective cultures and languages.
“It’s been a great success,” Patton said.