Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to participate in Upward Bound?

Nothing! This program is fully funded by the US Department of Education, including meals that overlap with our planned activities. Transportation from your high school to our activities are also provided - as long as you can get to your school before the activity and a ride home from school after, we'll take care of the rest!

How does a student become a participant in the upward Bound Program?

Students complete an application to get started. Typically, students submit a letter of recommendation from a leader in their school too, like a principal, counselor, or teacher. Applicants and their parents/guardians are invited to a meeting with a Program Advisor, who confirms eligibility and completes enrollment.

Additionally, students must:

    • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
    • Be entering grades 9-12
    • Attend St. Cloud Tech, Apollo, Sauk Rapids-Rice, or Willmar High School
    • Be willing to commit to the program activities

AND be a part of at least one category, as follows:

    • First-generation college student (neither parent has earned a Bachelor's degree).
    • Meet income guidelines.

What is my commitment to Upward Bound?

When you're accepted to the program, it's for the rest of your high school journey, as long as your grades are on track and you continue to participate in our activities. We ask that students attend all activities and events to get the most out of the program, and to help us ensure we're using our grant funds responsibly. Remember, the more you give to any commitment you make, the more you get out of it! We promise to invest in you if you commit to joining us.

If I am accepted to Upward Bound, can I still be in other extra-cirricular activities or hold a job?

Yes! Upward Bound isn't meant to replace your other activities or jobs. Just ensure your schedule allows for all of your commitments prior to adding this program to your plate.

How involved will my family be?

We ensure your parents/guardians are also interested in what our program offers, since they will have to sign permission slips for you to attend a lot of our events and activities. We are happy to work with parents to address concerns, provide accommodations, or make changes to your enrollment. We encourage open communication and involvement with our staff.

When is the summer program and why must students live on campus? Are students allowed to leave campus to work or visit their families during the week?

The 6-week summer program is where you can really start to experience life on a college campus. You'll get really good at meeting other students, making friends, exploring many academic topics to find your passion, and living away from your family. You'll come to the College of Saint Benedict campus on Sunday nights and stay until Friday afternoons. While we highly encourage full participation on campus, we make exceptions on a case-by-case basis with parent and program approval.

Is transportation to events provided?

Yes! You just need a ride to and from your high school. We will bus studetns from their high schools to the college campus (or our field trip destination). We use school busses and coach busses with licensed drivers for all activities.

Will Upward Bound pay for the student’s college education?

No, but your Program Advisor will provide guidance for keeping college affordable. Upward Bound students also receive small stipends to recognize engagement and participation in our activities.

Will I fit in?

We are always amazed by how accepting and inclusive our program students are! We have students interested in everything from art to technology, with a variety of religious and cultural viewpoints. Our tutors are college students themselves, so know what you're going through. Even our Program Advisors and Program Director are invested in you - most are first-generation college graduates themselves! You will feel like everyone around you cares about you, your passions, and wants to see you reach your goals.

If I enroll in Upward Bound, do I have to attend CSB or SJU for college?

No, not at all. While a number of our students do choose to attend CSB or SJU, it's certainly not a requirement. 

How does the Department of Education measure the success of the program?

We are evaluated every year for our performance as a program. We are excited to go above and  beyond requirements to see everyone succeed. Some of our goals are...

    • Helping high school students experience academic and cultural ideas, to inspire new passions
    • Helping high school students graduate on time
    • Helping graduates start college right after high school
    • Helping college students finish their college degree

Can I still apply if I'm failing one or more of my classes?

Yes! Anyone can apply at anytime. Current academic performance is one of many parts of the application we look at. We often see our students' grades improve after joining us.

What happens if I do not get selected this year?

If you do not get selected this year, yet are eligible to join, then your records will be kept on a waiting list for the next available space. We will contact you as space opens.

Is Upward Bound successful?

YES! 88% of Upward Bound graduates have started college. Plus, Upward Bound students are four times more likely to earn a college degree than students from similar backgrounds who do not participate in the program.