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UW-RF Receives Federal Upward Bound Grant

UW-River Falls has received an Upward Bound program grant for $234,624 to help high school students from low-income families pursue a college education.

The grant, supplemented with an in-kind contribution of $108,556 from UW-RF, will allow the University to continue the Upward Bound program activities it has been involved in since 1999.

The Upward Bound program serves students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree and who are preparing to enter post-secondary education. Students receive academic instruction support as they prepare to go to college, including assistance with college entrance and financial aid applications.

According to Jill Moe, Upward Bound director at UW-RF, the program serves 50 students from Arlington High School in St. Paul, Minn., the school with the highest number of disadvantaged students and the lowest test scores in the city.

"We will conduct an ongoing program during the academic year that includes weekly tutoring and weekend workshops, and a six-week residential program in the summer. We will provide instruction and support in core subjects and electives, to help participants succeed," she said.

"The program also includes several field trips to colleges. The six-week residential program in the summer includes a service learning component in addition to the academics. "This teaches kids that when you receive you need to give back.," she said.

This summer, the students will take over maintenance of a restored prairie in River Falls, collecting seeds, pollinating, and removing unwanted plants. Each student will have 100 to 130 hours in service learning or volunteer work every year they are in the program. Moe said they also spend time exploring career options, learning how to fill out college applications and writing college scholarship essays.

This year they plan to tour the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as many of the students are interested in the medical field.

For about 75 percent of the students from Arlington High School, English is a second language, so the students are immersed in English while they are on campus. Students are selected for the program primarily through teacher recommendations. They fill out an application and go through an interview.

"The kids know they are here for a reason, and that is to help them get to college. They are so grateful for Upward Bound," said Moe.

UW-RF Chancellor Ann Lydecker is an enthusiastic supporter of the program. "Education is an investment that benefits our children, our communities and our economy," she said. "Programs like Upward Bound break down the barriers that prevent students from entering or succeeding in college and give them a real chance for a better life."

The grant is part of a package of Upward Bound program grants totaling $5.9 million that were made to 19 colleges and universities throughout the state, according to WisconsinÕs U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold. Both are longtime supporters of the U.S. Department of EducationÕs TRIO program, which funds the grants.

Kohl and Feingold agree that students who face barriers to higher education need a helping hand, and thanks to the TRIO program, more students are getting the help they need. - 30 -

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