College Readiness Program gets $1.3 Million Grant - Humboldt State Now

College Readiness Program gets $1.3 Million Grant

A Humboldt State University program that helps local high school students enroll and succeed in higher education has been notified it will receive a grant of $1.3 million over five years from the Department of Education.

Rep. Jared Huffman chats with HSU Upward Bound student assistant Bri Carillo and Arcata High Student and Upward Bound participant Halijah Edison.

With the funds, HSU’s Upward Bound will continue its tradition of helping local high school students navigate the path to higher education.

Upward Bound serves 60 students from Arcata, Hoopa Valley, South Fork, Trinity, Southern Trinity, and Hayfork high schools. Participants are low-income students who exhibit potential to thrive in college, and are the first in their family to take part in higher education.

Once accepted, students get an immersive college experience. They stay in the Cypress Residence Hall and take courses in math, science, a foreign language, literature and composition, and enrichment courses. The program is successful; as much as 85 percent of participants enroll in college.

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), whose district includes Humboldt State University, praised the grant decision. “The Upward Bound program has a proven track record of getting disadvantaged students into college and helping them be successful once they’re enrolled,” he said. “I’m glad we can announce that the program is receiving the federal support it needs to continue serving students in Humboldt and Trinity counties.”

This year, the program will expand to include a summer outreach program aimed at helping graduating high school seniors follow through on commitments to enroll in college.

Researchers have identified the summer after high school graduation as the “summer melt,” a time when many students give up on college plans because of academic, financial, logistical, or emotional reasons. The new outreach effort is designed so all participating graduating seniors receive summer counseling and advising.

“Bringing students to campus is so important. They start to see themselves belonging on a university campus and that they can be successful here,” says Upward Bound Director Jen Dyke (’92 P.E. Education, ’93 Credential, and ’07 Masters of Education). Dyke is also a 1987 graduate of Upward Bound who attended the program from Trinity High School.

Leo Canez, Upward Bound coordinator and a 1995 graduate of the program from Hoopa Valley High School, says the success stems in part from the encouragement Upward Bound gives students. “Our students often don’t have people in their support network who can show them what it takes to be successful in college,” Canez says. “This is the first time people say to them ‘Hey, I was there, I was just like you, I faced similar challenges and I was able to overcome it. Here’s how you can too.’”

Upward Bound is one of eight initiatives sponsored by the Federal TRIO Programs, all of which are designed to identify and provide support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program was originally part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.

HSU currently operates three TRIO programs: Classic Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and Talent Search. In 2011, the Dept. of Education awarded HSU’s Talent Search program a $1.9 grant to offer free counseling to about 1,000 eligible students a year. In 2015, the department awarded $1.87 million to HSU’s Student Support Services program, which is aimed at improving the retention and graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students.

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