Upward Bound

The Upward Bound program provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in 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 bachelors degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from institutions of post-secondary education.

What is Upward Bound?

Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for first generation and/or income eligible high school students. It is designed to prepare youths for education beyond high school by providing appropriate academic, cultural, and social programs that develop the skills, attitudes, and motivation necessary for post-secondary education.

Upward Bound provides instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and foreign language. Other services include:

  • Instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and other subjects necessary for success in education in high school and college.
  • Academic, financial, or personal counseling
  • Exposure to academic programs and cultural events
  • Tutorial services
  • Mentoring programs
  • Information on post-secondary education opportunities
  • Assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications
  • Assistance in preparing for college entrance exams
  • Work-study positions to expose participants to careers requiring a post-secondary degree
  • Scholarship searches

Academic Year and Summer Programs

The Academic Year Component

This component consists of classes, tutoring, and workshops that take place on two Saturdays per month during the regular academic year at Iowa State University. Students are tutored in English, math, science, and social studies. Students attend workshops on financial aid; money management; PSAT, SAT, and ACT preparation; how to select the best college to fit their needs, etc. Participants receive a monthly cash stipend when attending.

The Summer Component

The summer bridge component is for program participants who have graduated from high school and plan to attend college in the fall. The Upward Bound program pays for all expenses for graduates to take 6 credit hours at Iowa State University in the summer.

This component is a six to eight week program that is held on the Iowa State campus. Upward Bound students are eligible to take college classes (at their expense) after their sophomore year in high school and stay on campus (UB pays room and board) the entire eight weeks of summer school.

All other students may elect to attend a 6 week summer program where classes are taught in English, math, laboratory science, foreign language, computer science, reading, as well as elective classes, career and social awareness.

Although academic preparation is the primary focus of the summer component, there are many recreational activities provided. This includes the Upward Bound Summer Olympics that is comprised of Iowa’s other Upward Bound programs.

On the last day of the academic session, a banquet is held for family members. Students are honored for academic achievements and present highlights of their summer classes and activities. The summer component concludes with a cultural field trip to a large metropolitan area.