Big Bend Community College will receive $2.4 million over the next five years to continue providing Upward Bound services to students. The federally funded program offers academic tutoring, mentorship, financial guidance and enrichment activities.

BBCC’s Upward Bound program serves high school students in Grant and Adams counties. The total grant of $2,419,290, paid in increments of $483,858 during each of the next five years, will continue the program’s mission to help first-generation, low-income students overcome social, cultural and academic barriers to become successful.

2017 group of TRiO Upward Bound Students
Members of the 2016-17 TRiO Upward Bound program pose in front of the library during the 2016 summer program at Big Bend Community College.

“Receiving this degree of backing from the U.S Department of Education is an assurance that Big Bend will continue to be a place that is a very supportive, especially of first-generation and low-income students,” said Director of Communications Matt Killebrew. “It will help to provide them a springboard to their future success.”

During the 2016-17 academic year, TRiO at Big Bend served 117 students from Moses Lake, Warden, Othello, Royal, and Lake Roosevelt high schools. Twenty-two of the program’s high school juniors and seniors (34 percent) also participated in the Running Start program.

Upward Bound was established 53 years ago by the U.S. Congress under President Johnson’s Administration and is funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1964. The purpose of the Upward Bound program is to increase enrollment rates in higher education by providing comprehensive college preparation assistance for students who are from low-income backgrounds and potentially first-generation college students.

One hundred percent of the program’s seniors graduated from high school and will be attending colleges this fall. Two were selected to receive a national Dell scholarship worth $20,000 each. Only 400 seniors were selected for the scholarship nationwide that also includes a new Dell laptop.

Fifty-two students will be participating in the TRiO Upward Bound Summer Academy held on the BBCC campus. They will live in residence halls for six-weeks while taking high school and college coursework.  Eight of the 52 students will be taking BBCC college coursework while working on campus in a position similar to work-study. This is the 50th year the academy has been held on the BBCC campus.

“TRiO Upward Bound transforms students’ lives and gives them the support and guidance they need to reach their goals and dreams,” said Big Bend TRiO Upward Bound Director Anita De Leon. “TRiO Upward Bound is family!  In our program, we teach students that a goal without a plan is just a wish. We assist students in developing an academic plan and teach them how to set goals and the necessary skills to accomplish them. Our program is considered a legacy program because of the many years it has been funded. It is the oldest TRiO Upward Bound program in Washington state.”

Students receive tutoring, assistance with college and financial aid applications, SAT/ACT test preparation, and a summer program where they stay in a college dormitory, take classes to increase their academic skills and visit college campuses at no cost to students. More than 62,000 high school students around the country receive services through Upward Bound.

“Upward Bound is a major investment by the US Department of Education in young people, especially those for whom a college education may seem out of reach,” said BBCC President Terry Leas. “Upward Bound not only transforms students’ lives, it educates them, promotes workforce and economic development and, thus, preserves democracy.”

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