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Upward Bound Receives Federal Funding Through 2022

Upward Bound at SUNY Plattsburgh, the federal program that has been helping local high school students through high school and beyond since 1966, was funded for the next five years.

The program, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson as part of his War on Poverty, received a total of $901,971 through 2022. 

“It’s the longest-funded grant program on campus,” said Brian Post, director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Upward Bound. “We’re in our 51st year.”

TRIO Program

A part of TRIO, the federal bundle of programs that includes Student Support Services, Upward Bound comprises a year-round  educational opportunity component for students who have the potential to continue their education beyond high school. It offers academic enrichment, counseling and leadership opportunities through high school graduation for students from low-income households. Often, their parents have not attended or graduated from four-year colleges.

“Our counselors go into the schools in the three counties and work with these students through their high school years,” Post said. “We have three counselors who go in, make sure the students are on track academically, help them progress through the college application process, financial aid — all things that it takes to get into college.”

Summer Session

The summer component is a six-week residential program, Post said.

“Students live in the residence halls, eat in the dining hall and attend classes to simulate the college experience while they’re still in high school, which helps reassure seniors that it’s not so daunting.”

Post said Upward Bound participants “are great students — who just happen to come from low- or moderate-income households. For years, there’s been an impression that Upward Bound is for at-risk kids, and it’s not. These are very good students; they just don’t have a lot of money,” he said.

Students have to meet academic eligibility to be included.

SUNY Plattsburgh’s program “serves a total of 209 students in three counties — Clinton, Essex and Franklin. We go into 15 school districts in those counties,” Post said.

‘Testimony to Good Work’

“This is wonderful news for both the college and the North Country,” said Bryan Hartman, vice president for student affairs. The funding renewal “is a testimony to the good work they do, especially in light of the proposed budget cuts at the federal level.”

Politics aside, Post said he’s relieved that Upward Bound has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress.

“There is a TRIO caucus in Congress that supports our programs,” Post said. “There is support on both sides of the aisle. We have to go through the grant renewal process every five years, and we have support, but we still have to advocate for our programs.”

Right now, Upward Bound on campus is getting ready for the summer program.

“We’ll be moving over to the dorm next week,” he said. During the school year, Upward Bound is housed in a suite of offices in the Hawkins Hall basement. “We’ll be kicking into gear soon. The students move in within a month, and we’ll be off and running for six weeks.”

And then they’ll turn around and start the process all over again for another academic year.

For more information on Upward Bound, contact Post at 518-564-2030 or [email protected]

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