U.S. Department of Education extends funding for TROY’s Upward Bound program

As a part of their summer program, TROY Upward Bound participants visited Kennedy Space Center.

As a part of their summer program, TROY Upward Bound participants visited Kennedy Space Center.

Troy University’s TRIO-Upward Bound program, which helps students succeed in high school and navigate the transition to college, has been renewed for five years through funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Upward Bound, which has been in operation at TROY since 1992, provides academic, counseling, social, and recreational activities designed to build the academic skills, motivation, and self-confidence necessary for success in college.

TROY’s program will receive $434,765 annually from the U.S. Department of Education over the next five years.

“Upward Bound is one of Troy University’s longest-running and successful sponsored programs,” said Dr. Hal Fulmer, Associate Provost and Dean of First-Year and Undergraduate Studies. “Ms. Bridgette Anderson and the Upward Bound team make a real difference for the selected Pike County students who might not consider going to a college or university. Receiving this level of renewal is a tribute to daily hard work to connect these high school students to the possibilities of a brighter future, which includes becoming a college student. All of us at Troy University benefit from the work being done by the Upward Bound team.”

The program serves more than 90 students annually from three participating Pike County high schools – Goshen, Pike County and Charles Henderson high schools — providing academic, counseling, social and recreational activities designed to build the academic skills, motivation and self-confidence necessary for success in college. Upward Bound programs are offered free of charge to students from low-income, first-generation college families.

The Upward Bound program consists of two components – one that takes place during the academic year from September to May and a summer residential program that takes place on the Troy Campus.

“During the academic year, which runs from September through May, we provide academic support and advising, career services and tutoring,” said Bridgette Anderson, the program’s Interim Director. “One Saturday a month, students get to come here to Troy Campus for a College Day. We bring in supporters from the community to talk to the students about different career fields and the options available to them, and sometimes we have representatives from campus organizations that come and talk about college readiness and other aspects surrounding college life. The students love coming to campus because for some they have never been on a college campus before. The ultimate goal is to help them understand that college is a possibility for them and they have options for their future. We want to provide them with every possible resource we can.”

Anderson said that while the focus of the program is the students, they also work to include parents.

“We offer parent workshops on topics such as financial literacy,” she said. “We want to let them know through our programs that we are advocates for their students.”

The academic year component of the program ends in May with an annual awards program where participants are recognized for their academic achievements and high school graduates are honored.

The summer program, which spans June and July, brings Upward Bound students to the Troy Campus where they stay in residence halls, eat in the campus’ dining facilities and attend classes that help to prepare them for the upcoming school year. This summer, the program offered a robotics class where participants learned different aspects of technology and coding, Anderson said.

“Upward Bound is very important to the students’ personal and academic growth,” she said. “I see a lot of students, who when they joined our program, were not sure college was for them. What we try to do through the program is to open their minds to the opportunities and possibilities that are available to them. Every story isn’t a success story, but there are a lot of former students of the program that I talk to that believe that if it wasn’t for Upward Bound they wouldn’t be the person they are today.”