Tuesday October 23, 2007

Providing a Lift to Area High-Schoolers

University receives close to $1 million to help prepare local high schoolers for college.

The University of Dayton has received an Upward Bound grant to help prepare Dayton public high school students to enter college.

The Department of Education grant will provide $248,679 a year, renewable up to four years. It will target students in four Dayton high schools: Belmont, Dunbar, Meadowdale and Thurgood Marshall. Students in other Dayton area high schools also are eligible to apply.

"Our intent is to establish strong relationships with those schools," said Monica Adkins, University of Dayton director of diverse student populations, who wrote the grant proposal. "Our goals are to expose these students to college and for them to eventually attend college. Our hope is that many will choose UD."

Beginning in 2008, the UD program will accept 50 ninth-grade students. UD will provide them tutoring, mentoring and preparation for exams such as the ACT and Ohio Graduation Test during the academic year. During the summer, Upward Bound students will live on campus for six weeks and participate in courses and extracurricular activities. Some of the classes include biology, chemistry and algebra. Activities include campus tours and field trips to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky.

UD will hire an Upward Bound coordinator within the next few weeks. UD students will work in the program as mentors and summer residence supervisors.

UD's Learning Enhancement and Academic Development program staff will aid the project. UD's enrollment management, student development and career services offices are among the others that will offer support. Local agencies, including the Mentoring Collaborative, Dayton Urban League and Junior Achievement, also will be involved in the program.

Upward Bound is a federal program that serves high school students from low-income families, high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree, and low-income, first-generation military veterans who are preparing to enter postsecondary education.

"Retention needs to start before students enter college," Adkins said.

Interested students can call the office of diverse student populations at 937-229-3634. Applications will be available soon.

For interviews, contact Monica Adkins at 937-229-3634.