UM Awarded $2M for Low-Income, First-Gen Students

TRIO Upward Bound Students on the UM campus.

MISSOULA – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of Montana with a $2 million Upward Bound grant to provide support to low-income students in Missoula and the Blackfeet Nation who are the first members of their families to attend college.

The funding will benefit UM’s TRIO Upward Bound, an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree.

“I am delighted to announce that Upward Bound at UM is funded to serve students in Missoula and Browning,” said Dr. Anna-Margaret Goldman, the director of TRIO Upward Bound. “With this funding cycle, we are thrilled to include two additional schools, Sentinel and Heart Butte High Schools. This addition allows us to reach students from new communities that could benefit from Upward Bound.”

Upward Bound programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science and foreign language during the school year and a six-week, campus-based summer experience. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid packages and scholarship forms.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. From October 2020 to September 2021, more than 70,000 students participated in 966 Upward Bound TRIO projects throughout the United States and its territories.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 established Upward Bound It was the first of seven federal “TRIO” programs to later be authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 to help students succeed in higher education. This program was established to serve students whose parents do not have a college degree as they navigate the complexity of higher education and help remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

 “We could not be more excited about the UM TRIO Upward Bound Program being awarded renewal funding,” said Dr. Sarah Swager, UM vice provost for student success. “Upward Bound has been helping Montana students prepare for, make the transition into and succeed in higher education for over 50 years. This grant renewal will not only ensure that the services Upward Bound provides remain available, but through the expansion of the program's service network to additional high schools in Missoula and Heart Butte, even more participating students and their families will benefit. Congratulations to Upward Bound Director Anna-Margaret Goldman and to the entire UM TRIO Upward Bound team.” 

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship hinder students’ success in getting to and through college, TRIO programs such as Upward Bound take on new importance because they address many of the barriers that prevent low-income, first-generation students from earning degrees,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education.

Upward Bound has been funded at UM for 56 years and served over 3,000 students.

If a family is interested in joining Upward Bound, or a teacher wants to learn more about our TRIO services, please contact the program at 406-243-2219 or visit


Contact: Anna-Margaret Goldman, TRIO Upward Bound director, 406-218-1838,