Southwestern Receives $1 Million Grant to Continue Its Upward Bound Program
- Donald Tetto
Southwestern University has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Upward Bound program. The new grant will cover the period from September 1, 2007, through August 31, 2011.
Established in 1999, the Upward Bound program at Southwestern University offers year-round academic support for students who would be the first in their families to attend college. The program currently serves 50 students in grades 9-12 from Georgetown, Jarrell and Granger high schools.
At Southwestern University, the Upward Bound program not only encourages college enrollment, but also a successful transition to college and graduation from college. The program includes a variety of activities during the academic year and summer.
During the academic year, students complete at least 30 minutes of tutoring a week in the Upward Bound office or with their high school teachers. Every other Saturday, students attend classes at Southwestern in writing, math and lab science. Juniors in the program attend SAT prep classes taught by Sylvan Learning. Individual and group tours of area colleges are offered, along with an overnight trip to a distant university. Community service also is an important element of the program. Last year, Upward Bound participants completed 476 program-sponsored volunteer hours.
During the six-week summer program, students attend classes Monday through Thursday in various subjects. On Fridays, program staff members take students to work sites around the central Texas area, showcasing jobs that are available with a college education. Tours have been given at local businesses such as Austin Energy, Freescale Semiconductor, St. David’s Georgetown Hospital and National Instruments.
Every year Southwestern University offers two full-tuition scholarships, valued at over $102,000, to Upward Bound graduates who are admitted to the university. “This generous scholarship has opened doors to many of our graduates who previously only dreamed of attending Southwestern,” says Lorna Hermosura, who has served as director of the program since July 2003. Currently six Southwestern students are recipients of the scholarship.
Southwestern is host to one of 51 Upward Bound programs in Texas. The program had 100 percent of its graduates enroll at accredited colleges and universities across Texas in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The only other program serving the Central Texas area is at Texas State University in San Marcos. For more information on the Upward Bound program at Southwestern, visit www.southwestern.edu/academic/ub.