The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Loyola Marymount University will receive a federal Upward Bound grant of $1.49 million to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college.
Initially funded in 2006 to serve 50 students at Westchester High School, LMU UB will now extend its reach to include Inglewood High School, and will serve a total of 58 students over a five-year period. The program is administered through LMU School of Education.
One of the federal TRIO Programs, Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through enrichment courses in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. It also provides students with mentoring and support as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms. At least two-thirds of the students in Upward Bound programs are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree.
To date, students who have participated in LMU’s Upward Bound project have a college matriculation rate of 99% and a six-year college graduation rate of 71.2%—both higher than the national average. “Now more than ever, programs that mitigate systemic inequities affecting access to and success in higher education are needed,” says Norma Romero, LMU Upward Bound’s project director. “We are thrilled and honored to continue to serve our community families to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented youth who graduate from college.”
“The impressive 15-year track record of LMU’s Upward Bound project demonstrates the transformative power of education and of investing in underserved students,” adds Michelle D. Young, dean of LMU School of Education. “All students should have access to opportunities that help them succeed and thrive, and we are indebted to Dr. Romero for her leadership of this effort.”
In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal “TRIO” programs to later be authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success, bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had, and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically. As of 2021, over 3,000 TRIO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants yearly across the nation.