Upward Bound students and kidsIn an effort to wage the nation's War on Poverty, Congress (under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson) legislated funding for the Upward Bound Program in 1965. Eighteen programs were initially funded nationwide. Along with Upwrd Bound, two other education opportunity programs were created (this group was called TRiO). Now there are 8 TRiO programs serving student from middle school through doctoral programs, military veterans, and displaced workers. The TRiO- Upward Bound program works with high school students for the purpose of enhancing the skills and motivation necessary for students to complete high school and be successful in college.

Currently, there are 780 TRiO- Upward Bound programs—5 are located in Montana. Funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the programs improve educational opportunity and access to higher education for America's lower income students.

In 1966 the University of Montana was successfully funded an Upward Bound grant. With sustained funding from 1966 to date, over 3,000 high school students have been assisted by the program.

Upward Bound students and kidsThe University of Montana Upward Bound Program serves students attending Missoula Hellgate, Missoula Big Sky, and Browning High Schools. The high schools have been carefully selected because of the wonderful opportunity to serve a broad range of culturally diverse students with need for academic support in order for them to reach their dream of attending college. Addressing diversity makes considerable sense considering the mobile global workforce that brings foreign employees to America and sends American employees overseas. Students must develop a sense of tolerance and cultural appreciation as an important job skill.

Upward Bound students and kidsEligible Upward Bound high school students must be raised in low income families and/or families where neither parent has earned a bachelor's degree. Over two-thirds of the participants satisfy both of these requirements. Additionally, the students must demonstrate academic need for program services and aspire to attend college once they graduate from high school. The UM Upward Bound Program is comprised of 3 components—the academic year support services, summer instructional, and the Bridge Scholars' component. Designed to provide sustained service from 9th grade through high school graduation, the components complement one another.

Upward Bound students and kidsThanks to the dedication and competence of many talented Upward Bound instructors, academic year school-based tutor/advisors, summer residential advisors, and administrative support staff, over 95% of our students graduate from high school each year, and of those, 75% of the seniors enrolled in a program of postsecondary education immediately after high school graduation (classes of 2006, 2007, 2008). Though 75% may not appear a startling statistic, compared to national data only 24% of low income and first generation high school students enroll in a program of postsecondary education immediately after high school graduation (Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First Generation Students), The PELL Institute, November 2008).