U.S. Dept. of Education Awards $600,000 to Upward Bound

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Upward Bound Program at Rhode Island College a federal grant of $622,001 for the June 1, 2014, to May 31, 2015, budget period.

The focus of Upward Bound is to provide low-income, potential first-generation college students with the skills and motivation to complete high school and to enter and graduate from college by engaging them in rigorous academic instruction and offering counseling and academic support. The current contract with the Department of Education allows funding for the program to serve six target high schools in Rhode Island: Central Falls, East Providence, Shea, Central, Hope and Mount Pleasant High Schools. 

According to Director of Upward Bound Mariam Boyajian, more than 2,000 students from high schools with the highest dropout rates in Rhode Island have successfully participated in the program and have gone on to graduate from some of the finest universities in the country. She said this is possible due to the “challenging and comprehensive services offered, the high quality of the counseling and teaching teams working with the students and the continuing support provided by Rhode Island College and the target school districts.”

Program counselors and faculty work with students in small groups and privately and come to know each student’s academic and personal strengths in order to help them reach their full potential. Alumni of the program serve as role models by leading workshops and by teaching. The program also has a strong working relationship with many colleges and universities that support the success of Upward Bound graduates.

According to Boyajian, no other program in the state provides such comprehensive services for high school students. The outcomes speak for themselves, she said: 99.9 percent of Upward Bound students graduate high school, 98 percent of the high school graduates enter public and private colleges and 77 percent are successful in college.

“Each year, I am amazed and proud of the accomplishments of the graduating class,” Boyajian said. “They, like their predecessors, will go on to become the engineers, doctors, teachers, lawyers and business executives in our community. And they credit Rhode Island College Upward Bound for its critical role in helping them realize their potential.”