The U.S. Department of Education has awarded two grants totaling $3.1 million to Cal State San Bernardino’s Upward Bound program, which will provide academic support and guidance to help 130 students in Rialto and San Bernardino graduate from high school, then go on to college and graduate.

The five-year grant will enable Upward Bound to work with students from Arroyo Valley, Pacific and San Bernardino high schools in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, and Carter, Eisenhower and Rialto high schools in the Rialto Unified School District.

Upward Bound will help the students with one-on-one academic guidance and support; individual and group tutoring; access to college campus visits throughout the state; providing real-life college experiences through the Summer University held at CSUSB; and providing guidance and instruction on successfully navigating all aspects of the complex college-going and completion process.

“The continued funding award from the U.S. Department of Education through the two grants in the amount of $1,562,400 each will allow the program to further its operation for five more years to deliver TRIO Upward Bound services to students,” said Dalia Hernández, Upward Bound director, who is also a TRIO alumna.

The federal TRIO Programs are outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs – including Upward Bound – targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs.

“Through the TRIO Upward Bound Program at CSUSB, we will continue to transform our students and communities by creating access to educational opportunities and providing the resources and support necessary to prepare students for high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment, and postsecondary completion,” said Hernández. “The TRIO Upward Bound Program will continue to create viable college and career pathways for our students. TRIO works!”

Students currently in Upward Bound and program alumni said it is making a difference in their lives.

“The Upward Bound Summer Program gave me the opportunity to build connections with others, trust others and break out of my shell,” said Jazelly, a tenth-grader at Eisenhower High School.

“Through the Upward Bound Summer program not only did they provide me with tools and resources to prepare for the next academic year, but also the opportunity to learn to trust myself and others,” said Edward, a ninth-grader at Pacific High School.

CSUSB first-year biology major Alondra Zaragoza said, “Upward Bound guided me in my high school journey and prepared me for college. The staff was available and always supported me. They helped me understand the college journey I wanted to take, and all the steps needed to get there, from filling out college and financial aid applications to providing me support and resources during my transition to college.”

Emmanuel Elizalde, a third-year data science major at UC Berkeley, said “Upward Bound prepared me to face the real world.”

Enrique Varela, a third-year biochemistry major at UC Riverside, said “Upward Bound provided me with experiences that otherwise would not have been available to me, living in the dorms, taking college courses, visiting colleges and universities, and now a summer job working as a student mentor for the summer program. I have come full circle.”

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

“Upward Bound is a powerful approach to carry out the CSUSB mission to cultivate the professional, ethical, and intellectual development of our students so they thrive and contribute to a globally connected society,” said Hernández.  

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal TRIO programs to later be authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 to help first-generation and low-income students succeed in higher education.

Visit the CSUSB Upward Bound website or more information about the program.