Upward Bound Students

The Rhode Island College Upward Bound Program serves low-income, first-generation college bound scholars in the pursuit of high school graduation and post-secondary completion. Our holistic approach enhances the intellectual, motivational, and character development of each scholar. The program is committed to providing equal access and opportunity to scholars through rigorous academic instruction, advising, support services, and an environment that recognizes individual differences and academic potential.

Why Participate?

  • Student centered program with a 56 year legacy helping over 2,000 high school students to help build their academic skills and confidence in preparation for success in college
  • A federally-funded project through the country and the only one in Rhode Island
  • High school graduation rate of 99%
  • College acceptance rate of 98% for Upward Bound graduating seniors
  • College retention rate of 77%
  • Strong alumni network that supports scholarships and endowment funds

Admission Criteria 

  • Citizen of the United States or proof of permanent residency 
  • Proof of an individual (neither of whose parents - natural or adoptive) do not have a four-year college degree
  • From a family that meets low-income requirements by federal guidelines
  • In the ninth, tenth or eleventh grade in one of the Target High Schools 
  • In need of Upward Bound's services to achieve academic success in high school and meet requirements to complete a high school diploma
  • Interested in enrolling in a college/university upon graduating from high school
  • Not older than nineteen at the time of selection for the program

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Target High Schools

Central FallsCentral Falls High School
East ProvidenceEast Providence High School
PawtucketShea High School
ProvidenceCentral High School, Hope High School, Mount Pleasant High School

Frequently Asked Questions

Usually, seventy students are invited to participate in the Program once the application process is completed. The Program does have a waiting list for two weeks after the selection process is completed.

The Program would like to develop a strong working partnership with each student and his/her family. Therefore, it is important that the family unit consider the following: purpose of the Program, services provided, time commitments for the school year and summer programs, and the importance of open communication. If the student – and family – wish to take advantage of all of the services and opportunities made available, they should apply. More details related to these expectations are included in a partnership agreement that clearly outlines commitments that the Program is going to make and those that should be reciprocated by the student and family.

Yes, the student should be available to attend Saturday classes, tutoring, and counseling sessions during the academic year. In addition, all students who have not yet graduated from high school should make a commitment to attend and complete the summer residential requirements. The dates for each component are communicated to selected students (and applicants) well in advance.

The Rhode Island College Upward Bound Program is required to offer a six-week academic/ residential experience each summer to students who have met program standards and who have not yet graduated from high school. There is no charge to the student or family for summer room and board. The Upward Bound budget supports the cost of each student’s private room, meals, instruction, tutoring, and activities sponsored by the program during the days the summer program is in session.

Students live and study on the campus of Rhode Island College, Sunday evening through Friday afternoon each week for six weeks. They cannot leave campus to work or visit their families during the week. If an off-campus activity is planned for the group of summer students, they are transported by buses and are well supervised by program staff. 

A well-supervised, structured program affords students the opportunity to live and learn in a supportive campus community which simulates the college experience. By living on campus, students are able to focus on their academic and personal development. The Upward Bound experience sets high expectations for students and provides the services for students to reach their potential. 

The dates for the summer academic/residential program are published in the recruitment materials, on the Upward Bound website, and communicated to students and families.

No other program in the area provides such comprehensive services to enrolled high school students. Upward Bound recognizes that every student is unique and uses an individualized approach in working with them.

The commitment from the Program is a lengthy one – starting at the time the student enters the Program throughout high school, college, and beyond. The Program's counselors and faculty work with students in small groups and privately to address their individual needs. In addition, they help students to develop their academic potential, learn from others and their cultures, and identify and meet realistic goals. Tutoring is provided on a needed basis. Cultural and social events are held to expose the students to new and different positive experiences. The Alumni of the Program serve as role models by leading workshops, teaching, and conducting seminars. The Program also has a strong working relationship with many of the colleges and universities, a network that supports the success of our graduates.

All target high schools provide some level of recognition on the high school transcripts for those students who successfully complete the summer experience. Usually, a notation is made on the transcript and one of the high schools issues elective credits, but college credit is not issued.

The Upward Bound Program develops an official transcript for each of the students. That transcript is forwarded to each college and scholarship agency to which the student applies. In addition, more comprehensive written evaluations are developed by the faculty and discussed with the student on a regular basis.

The only time the Program provides transportation is when groups of students are scheduled for an activity that will take place during the summer or school year. Such examples are trips to a museum or college for an information tour. All other transportation to and from the campus are the responsibility of the family.

No, but the Program will provide advice and guidance for the student – and the family – to apply for federal, state, and college aid. A financial aid advising program is scheduled each year, information about scholarship opportunities – including the Upward Bound Alumni Scholarship – is provided regularly, and waivers are provided as appropriate for related fees. In addition, the counselors work closely with the students and families throughout the college application and decision-making process as a means of facilitating the process and responding to questions about aid.

No, Upward Bound students do not need to matriculate at Rhode Island College. Upward Bound counselors work with participants and families to identify a range of colleges and universities that will offer the curriculum, support, and financial aid needed for a successful experience. Rhode Island College may be included in that list of prospective placements.

If recommended by the staff of the Program, Upward Bound students are given special consideration when they apply for admission to the College but they are not guaranteed admission.



Admission to the Upward Bound program is limited and competitive, so apply today!

Upward Bound Services

Saturday Academy

Academic Year/Saturday Academy 

During each school year, students attend college preparatory classes in mathematics, literature and writing, and study skills. These classes are held on Saturdays from 9 am–12:15 pm on the campus of Rhode Island College. 


Participants who have met specific goals will be invited to participate in Summer Component,involving:

  • Advising 
  • Tutoring
  • Access to library and technology centers
  • Advice and guidance in choosing and applying to colleges
  • S.A.T. workshops
  • TOEFL workshops and testing
  • Cultural, social and intramural programs
  • Scholarship opportunities

Summer Component

Students are required to participate in a six-week summer residential component that focuses on academic and personal development. Students live in one of Rhode Island College's residence halls and are supervised by a team of tutors and counselors. Students take higher-level classes in mathematics, science, literature and writing, foreign language, and study skills. Students also have time to participate in activities and weekly social and cultural programs. Students have access to the College's facilities, including the library, science laboratories, and the Technology and Recreation Centers.

Summer Residential Component  

  • Six-week residential campus experience
  • College preparation courses
  • Counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Study skills support
  • Workshops 
  • Career Fair
  • Access to the library and technology centers
  • Cultural, social and intramural programs
  • Internship placement
  • Network with alumni 

Summer Internships

A group of students will be selected and matched for three-week internships in August after the summer component ends. The goal of this initiative is to introduce selected students to the benefits of interning in a field that requires a college degree that could help them further define career interests. In the past, students have completed internships in education, law, medicine, computers, business, and public relations.

Personal Attention

Upward Bound recognizes that every student is unique, and we use an individualized approach to work with them. Because each Upward Bound counselor's caseload does not exceed sixty-five students, each participant will receive a great deal of personal attention. Throughout the program, the assigned counselor meets with students to discuss personal, academic, and college-related issues. The counselor will also works closely with students to identify and apply to colleges and universities. Parents are invited to be part of this process, particularly in the application for federal financial assistance.

Academic Achievement

A comprehensive evaluation system will be used to review the progress of each student. There will be three major evaluations – at the conclusion of the fall semester, spring term, and summer component. Final grades and academic awards received will be recorded on an official Upward Bound transcript that is provided to the colleges, universities, and scholarship programs to which you apply.

Additional Services

Upward Bound also provides each senior student with fee waivers for the SATs, the TOEFL, and for college and financial aid applications. Although Upward Bound does not provide financial support for students to enter college, the program does provide a great deal of assistance in helping senior students complete financial aid forms. Upward Bound counselors also work with students to find sources of scholarships and other types of aid.

In addition, all Upward Bound seniors are eligible to apply for scholarships made available by the Upward Bound Alumni Association.

There is no cost to a student's family to apply or for services provided to an enrolled student. The Upward Bound Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Rhode Island College, and the four target school districts.

Rhode Island College entrance

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Center for Scholar Development

Creating educational pathways in an affirming environment for first generation scholars in their pursuit of post-secondary success.

Mrs. Claudia Erazo-Conrad

Senior Project Director of Upward Bound