The campus was recently awarded a five-year, nearly $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to reestablish an Upward Bound program in partnership with two high schools in Springfield.
Upward Bound is a year-round, multi-year program for high school students who have the potential to succeed in college and could benefit from tutoring, academic enrichment, pre-college skills development, career counseling, college visits, cultural enrichment and academic and social support. Under the grant, UMass Amherst will work with up to 60 students at the High School of Commerce and Springfield High School. During the school year, the bulk of the Upward Bound programming will take place at Commerce High. In the summer, there will be a bridge program component that will take place on the UMass campus.
“We are very excited about this grant because it provides a great opportunity to work with two most needy high schools in Springfield, our partner city, and increase the number of high school students going on to college,” says Jean Kim, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life and principal investigator for the federal award. “Our campus had an Upward Bound grant a few decades ago but then lost the funding, so we are thrilled to get the grant this year that will help high school students from Springfield and strengthen our working relationship with the city.”
The UMass Amherst program is one of 780 Upward Bound projects across the country that are sharing more than $254 million. The programs are expected to help nearly 60,000 students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to access higher education and succeed in college.
“A college education is the ticket to the middle class, and these Upward Bound projects will help students take the next step toward the American Dream,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The Upward Bound program has a long history of providing key support to those who need it the most. Continuing to provide these resources for disadvantaged students will help to build a college-educated workforce in communities across the nation and ultimately revitalize our country’s economy.”