FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) IPFW announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Education has reauthorized grants totaling $2.58 million for the university’s two TRIO Upward Bound programs.
“Upward Bound at IPFW represents the best of our institutional efforts toward diversity and student development leading to college graduation and lifelong success,” said Kenneth Christmon, associate vice chancellor of admissions. “The fact that the university is home to two Upward Bound programs speaks volumes about our ability to train and develop area youth in a way that makes our region stronger!”
TRIO programs, which include Upward Bound, are federal outreach and student service programs intended to help low-income and first-generation college students, and people with disabilities succeed through their academics from middle school through higher education.
“The success of the campus’s Upward Bound college prep programs is evident as more than 400 students and families have been exposed to higher education in a way that may not have been possible without these programs,” said Chancellor Vicky Carwein. “And getting reauthorizations of these grants shows the commitment of our faculty and staff to the underserved youth in northeast Indiana.”
At IPFW, Upward Bound programs target high school students to give them the skills and support they need to finish high school, get into college and graduate. The program was first offered in 2004 and four years later, in 2008, the campus achieved the rare and honorable distinction of hosting a second program, making the campus home to two programs for the past nine years.
“This grant will help IPFW and the Fort Wayne region continue expanding opportunities for young people to pursue higher education. In this increasingly competitive economy, access to a high-quality education is critically important to success, which is why I’m proud to support the TRIO and Upward Bound programs–and am very pleased to see this grant continue in northeast Indiana,” said U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.
During the academic year, students involved in the programs have access to academic counseling and instruction, weekly tutoring, college visits, cultural and social experiences, and post-secondary assistance.
“The Upward Bound program has been a real life-changer for me,” said Justin McDonald, a junior at Wayne High School. “Being in this program allows me to keep up with the things I do in school and helps me to improve upon what I already know.”
More than half of the students who come to IPFW are first-generation students, one of the target groups of the Upward Bound programs. “The Upward Bound program exposes students to the challenges they will face as a first-generation college student,” said Nicholas Gray, project director of Upward Bound. “The program works hard to make sure all their students have the tools and knowledge to overcome those hurdles and be successful not only in college, but in life as well.”
Naw Sar Do, a senior at North Side High School, said his experience as an Upward Bound student has been amazing. “I always tell my friends to apply because Upward Bound has helped me and boosted my confidence in ways that I could not have imagined with the challenges of college, especially as a first-generation student.”
When these grants are fully funded in five years, the total awarded to the Fort Wayne campus will be more than $8 million. Collectively, the funding of the two programs represents the institution’s largest and most consistent procurement of external or federal funding for the expressed purpose of pre-college student development and college student retention programs in the history of the university.