U.S. Department of Education Renews
Upward Bound Support
Posted May 27, 2003
HOLLAND -- The long-running Hope College Upward
Bound Program has received a five-year grant from the U.S.
Department of Education.
The grant continues and even improves upon a
strong tradition of support for the program, according to
Elizabeth Colburn, director of Hope College Upward Bound.
"We're starting our 35th year, and fortunately
we've been funded all the way through," she said. "This is
the first time we've been able to get a five-year grant, so
that's exciting for us."
The new grant totals in excess of $1,780,000 for
the five years, and includes a two percent increase in
support. Only a small percentage of programs received
support for five years instead of four.
A total of 792 Upward Bound projects received
funding in the latest cycle. Colburn noted that she is all
the more appreciative since 51 previously funded programs
did not receive grants this time. "We're grateful for the
support, and it's nice in these tough economic times to get
at least some increase," she said.
Upward Bound seeks to generate the skills and
motivation necessary for success in education beyond high
school among students from low-income and first generation
families who have the potential to pursue a college
education but may lack adequate preparation or support. The
goal of the program is to increase the academic performance
and motivational levels of eligible students so that persons
may complete secondary schooling and successfully pursue
post-secondary educational programs.
Established in 1968, the Hope College Upward Bound Program is one of the oldest continuous Upward Bound programs in the country, according to Colburn, and has been administered through Hope since its inception. The college contributes approximately $100,000 in support of the program each year.
Hope works with students from three school districts in
Allegan and Ottawa counties, including Holland, West Ottawa
and Fennville. During the last four years, the program has
achieved a 95 percent success rate in enrolling students in
Although the focus of Upward Bound is on academic
advising and support, the program also continually offers
personal and career counseling as well as involvement in
cultural and recreational activities.
The program is funded for 70 students, but has a
substantial waiting list of eligible students interested in
participating. Although Upward Bound staff recruits
students from the program's target area, many students are
recommended by counselors, teachers, agencies and churches
in the community.
Throughout the academic year, students come to
Hope College twice a week to receive help in their high
school subjects from Hope College tutors. One Friday or
Saturday per month, the students meet for three hours to
attend workshops on topics such as goal-setting, decision-
making, the college search process, career awareness and
time management. A senior seminar which meets once a week
helps seniors with the college admission process, financial
aid and ACT/SAT testing.
A six-week summer residential program on the Hope
campus exposes students to the academic and social world of
college. Students live in a residence hall, attend classes
in the morning, and participate in career internships and
elective classes in the afternoon. Evenings are set aside
for study sessions and social and cultural activities.
This summer's session will begin on Friday, June
13, and continue through Friday, July 25. The theme will be
"American Dream/American Reality," pursued as an
"Our hope is that students will learn about the
dreams and realities faced by various groups of Americans,
such as African Americans, Native Americans and other
immigrants," Colburn said. "Students will study literature,
history, government, mathematics, science technology,
foreign language and the world of work."
The summer program will also include the annual
"Images" event, which shares the students' culture, food,
attire and talent, and is presented for the students'
families, friends and the community at large.
In addition to the structured academic and social
activities, the Upward Bound students also volunteer for
many community projects, such as raking leaves and painting
homes for the elderly, and Project Pride. They also hold
several fund-raisers throughout the year to raise money for
their cultural enrichment and college scholarship funds.
Even though the program continues to have the
benefit of federal support, Colburn noted, the ongoing drive
for scholarship assistance for the individual students is
crucial. For most of those who don't pursue or stay in
college, she said, the primary issue is generally cost. "So
we are always seeking out financial aid possibilities," she