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Upward Bound is a federally funded educational program within the United States. The program is one of a cluster of programs referred to as TRIO, all of which owe their existence to the federal Higher Education Act. Upward Bound programs are implemented and monitored by the United States Department of Education. The goal of Upward Bound is to provide certain categories of high school students better opportunities for attending college. The categories of greatest concern are those with low income, those with parents who did not attend college, and those living in rural areas. The program works through individual grants, each of which covers a restricted geographic area and provide services to approximately 50 to 100 students annually.
Most Upward Bound programs combine two approaches to student contact:
- a summer program where high school students take college prep classes and earn work experience at a college campus for six weeks
- weekly follow up and possibly tutoring with students during the school year.
A study released by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in 2004 entitled A Profile of the Upward Bound Program: 2000-2001 provides a detailed analysis of program demographics. Considerable challenge has been made regarding the effectiveness of the program. However, the long term impacts of a social services program such as Upward Bound are very difficult to ascertain, and a recent attempt to do extensive controlled studies was cancelled due to concerns over the ethical ramifications of recruiting control students for a program knowing that they would never receive services.
The program was launched in the 1965 with an annual budget of circa $250,000,000. Awards are usually made to institutes of higher education (universities), but some awards have been made to other non-profit organizations such as tribal organizations. Each award made averages $4,691 per participant, with the most common award providing $220,000 per grantee in 2004 and $250,000 in 2007. Awards are for four or five years and are competitive. The law providing for Upward Bound is 34 CFR Ch. VI Pt. 645. As federal education grants, Upward Bound awards fall under EDGAR and OMB Circular A-21 financial guidelines.
Upward Bound grants are results-based, with the level of success determined largely from highly-structured annual reports compared to grant objectives.
There are three divisions of Upward Bound:
- Upward Bound Classic for high school students
- Veteran's Upward Bound for U.S. military veterans
- Upward Bound Math and Science organized as regional centers for supporting these areas of study among high school students.
Upward Bound is part of the Federal TRIO Programs, which include Upward Bound, Veteran's Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program, and Upward Bound Math and Science.
Here is a list of some of the Upward Bound programs:
- Lincoln Memorial University Upward Bound
- Leeward Community College Upward Bound
- University of Delaware Upward Bound
- University of Minnesota Upward Bound
- Northfield Mt. Hermon School Upward Bound
- SwVCC Upward Bound
- Houston Community College*Central Upward Bound
- College of the Mainland Upward Bound
- AACE Upward Bound
- USF Upward Bound CP
- NY Upward Bound (Genesee Community College/Wyoming County-Perry, Warsaw, Attica and Letchworth) The office for theses four areas is located in Warsaw.
- Luther College Upward Bound CP
- Carl Sandburg College Upward Bound CP
- Wittenberg University Upward Bound
- East Tennessee State University Upward Bound
- University of Vermont Upward Bound
- University of Maine Upward Bound
- Ohio University Upward Bound
- Shawnee State University (Ohio) Upward Bound Program
- RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE UPWARD BOUND CP
- UTEP Upward Bound Program CP
- Coe College Upward Bound
- Bowdoin College Upward Bound
- ISU Upward Bound
- Nevada Upward Bound
- University of Southern Maine Upward Bound
- University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) Upward Bound
- WVU Tech Upward Bound CP
- Eastern Kentucky University UB 
- Harvey Mudd College
- Rogers State University Upward Bound
- Oklahoma State University Upward Bound
- Michigan State University Upward Bound
- Pikeville College Upward Bound
- Virginia Tech Upward Bound
- Baldwin Wallace College Upward Bound
- Western Nebraska CC Upward Bound
- Southwestern University Upward Bound
- California State University, Long Beach Upward Bound
- Occidental College Upward Bound
- California State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Upward Bound
- University of California, Irvine Upward Bound
- Indiana Wesleyan University Upward Bound
- University of Oklahoma, Sooner Upward Bound
- Cornell University Upward Bound
- University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
- Pima Community College Upward Bound
- Western Kentucky University Upward Bound
- North Carolina State University Upward Bound
- North Seattle Community College Upward Bound
- The Upward Bound home page
- The AACE Upward Bound Home Page( Branch in San Francisco)
- Council for Opportunity in Education
- Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association
- Plattsburgh NY Upward Bound
- Western Iowa Tech Community College Upward Bound
- Southeastern Community College Upward Bound