Friday October 5, 2007

Upward Bound

The University of Dayton has received a nearly $1 million Upward Bound grant to prepare Dayton high school students to enroll in 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, and will reach out to students in four Dayton high schools: Belmont, Dunbar, Meadowdale and Thurgood Marshall. Students in other Dayton high schools are also 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 goal is for those students to eventually attend college. Our hope is that many will choose UD."

Upward Bound, a federal TRIO program, 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. Upward Bound aims to increase the rate at which participants complete high school and enroll in and graduate from college.

Upward Bound projects provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment and work-study programs also are supported.

The UD program will accept 50 ninth-grade students and during the academic year will provide tutoring, mentoring classes and preparation for exams such as the ACT and Ohio Graduation Test. During the summer, Upward Bound students will live on campus for six weeks, participate in courses and extracurricular activities. Local agencies, including the Mentoring Collaborative, Dayton Urban League and Junior Achievement, will also be involved.

UD will hire an Upward Bound coordinator within the next few weeks and then hire UD seniors and graduate students to work in the program as mentors and summer residence supervisors. UD’s Learning Enhancement and Academic Development program staff will also be involved, helping participants develop study skills and prepare for standardized testing. Adkins also expects to involve staff from enrollment management, student development, career services and other areas of the University in helping the Upward Bound program succeed.

"Our goal is to expose these students to college," Adkins said. "Retention needs to start before students enter college." Through the Upward Bound program, she said, University staff hope to reach out into the Dayton community and improve the rates of high school students completing their secondary education and going on to college.