INA, Ill. (May 25, 2022) — Students from several high school districts in the Rend Lake College area will continue to reap the benefits of college prep services from Upward Bound, thanks to renewed federal funding.
RLC's Upward Bound program has received $1.56 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its outreach to local high school students, preparing them for a college education.
The grant will provide $312,000 a year to fund the Upward Bound college-preparation program during the next five years.
The program serves 63 first-generation, income-disadvantaged, and underrepresented students from Benton High School, Mt. Vernon High School, Ziegler-Royalton High School, and Hamilton County Senior High School. Upward Bound provides yearly academic services and a summer session on the RLC college campus where students can receive college credit. During the summer program, students take daily courses in Math, English, Science, and Art for five weeks.
Approximately 77% of students who actively participate in Upward Bound during high school attend college.
"I have seen many students achieve many things they didn't think were possible," explained TRIO Director Nathan Biggerstaff. "From the reserved student that is now a social butterfly to the student who didn't think college was in their future that is now enrolled in college — it's a privilege to witness their growth."
As a resource for the local community, the RLC Upward Bound program staff shine light on the groups that allow this program to be as successful as it is.
"I know that Upward Bound works," explained Upward Bound Program Student Advisor Beth Hoffman. "Our program works because of the parents who entrust their kids to us for three or four years of their high school experience. We work because the schools allow us to use their facilities for tutoring and so generously help us help their students in so many ways. We work because of the support of everyone at RLC. But, we work most of all because of our scholars. They commit to us 12 months a year. We get to know each other very well, and we have a mutual relationship of trust. We all have the same goal of our students achieving their dream of a college education. And even though they all may not, they know we are always proud and supportive of them."