Upward Bound receives grant renewal

(05-29-2012)

upward bound group shot spring12 main image

Forty years strong and prepared to go another forty -- the Adams State University Upward Bound Program celebrates their 40th Anniversary on June 1, and the program recently received a grant renewal for another six years.

Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families; and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

"Commitment," said Angelica Gallegos, director of Upward Bound, using one word to describe the program. "Our students commit to their future." The students work hard throughout high school and spend six weeks in the summer preparing for success in college by attending classes.

This year, U.S. Department of Education reduced the funding by $1000 per student. Although the cost per student was reduced, the program received a five percent increase from the last grant and can serve more students at a reduced per student cost. To help offset the budget cut, Gallegos said they made changes to the residential program by making one week non-residential and by reducing some trips to be one-day trips instead of over-night. Adams State also stepped in to supplement funding for two summer staff members, tuition and fees for 30 students for one three credit hour class and four scholarships. The program will add 24 students from Monte Vista High School to their program.

"I am really happy, on Cloud Nine," Gallegos said. The grant awards approximately $450,000/year. "That sounds impressive, but it spends so fast." Their budget includes salaries, stipends to students, and funding programs like the summer session for their students.

Seventy-five percent of ASU Upward Bound students choose to attend Adams State. Gallegos said Ken Marquez, vice president of student affairs, acquired supplemental in-kind funds for the program.

"I've visited other Upward Bound Programs and often they are in the attic or basement. We have always been centrally located and viewed as part of the college. That type of support bleeds everywhere, even down to the student."

The success of the students reflects the success of the program. Upward Bound receives emails, letters and personal visits from alumni, most carrying the sentiment, "If it weren't for Upward Bound I would not have had the chance for success."

Four years ago, Gallegos became director of the program when Mike Garcia retired. She said he came back and helped write the grant. "It is hard to find someone as devoted to students as Mike. If I have half of his devotion, I am on the right path."

This summer, 75 students will be on the Adams State campus from June 3 through July 6, students attend classes from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and activities in the evening. The non-residence students will do coursework on-line for five weeks, coming on campus for activities on Fridays. All students participate on the sixth week taking college preparation courses in the morning and performing community service in afternoon. "On July 13, we take 70 students to Elitch Gardens," Gallegos said.

Upward Bound is planning a reunion, for all alumni, on July 20 and 21. "We are already receiving reservations, and many mention the trip to Elitch Gardens as a favorite memory."

Anyone interested in the Upward Bound Program or the Upward Bound Reunion in July, contact the office at 719-587-7865.