Upward Bound is a college-readiness program, made up of about 70 high school students in central Minnesota. Our program is one of many TRIO programs throughout the US, and is fully funded by the Department of Education. Upward Bound has helped almost two million students graduate from college within the last 60 years, simply by introducing the idea of college early, to start building high schoolers’ academic support network and confidence that they can someday be a college student.
Earning a college degree unlocks so much for the average citizen, allowing for more lifetime income, more fulfilling careers, and all the benefits that come with financial security. Historic, systemic, and current barriers to higher education are multiple and complex. Studies have shown that while financial insecurity is one of the main reasons people don’t earn a college degree, there are other barriers Upward Bound programs can help address, including social, cultural, class, and mental health barriers.
Our Upward Bound program at the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University is operated by a Program Director and two Program Advisors. We support four high schools in central Minnesota: Tech, Apollo, Sauk Rapids-Rice, and Willmar. We can accept local students attending other high schools, including virtual schools.
To achieve our mission of supporting high school students succeed in their college dreams, Upward Bound is most effective when a student joins us while entering high school and stays with us through graduation. Students can join anytime in high school, however, and take part in our Academic Year offerings which are focused on academic readiness, and our Summer Program offering, focused on financial literacy, social and emotional learning, and cultural experiences.
As with all complex problems, the solution to accessing higher education needs to be holistic and well-rounded. This includes family involvement, student engagement and participation, and a commitment to oneself and their goals. Students work with their Program Advisor to navigate and make the most of high school, and always have access to the Program Director if more support is needed.