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Upward Bound gets big grant

As the funding looks grimmer and grimmer for Alabama's educational system, some things are being protected by the government. One of those programs is Upward Bound, the college-conducted program that helps "at-risk" high school students work toward a college degree as well.

Congressman Terry Everett (R- Rehobeth) recently announced the decision of the US Department of Education to award grant funds totaling $1,122,231 to enable four Southeast Alabama colleges to continue Upward Bound.

"I am pleased to announce the approval of this grant funding," said Everett, who listed the four recipients as Troy State University, Lurleen B, Wallace Community College, and the Wallace Community College's Ozark and Eufaula campuses.

"This federal grant money ensures these Southeast Alabama colleges can provide programs to cultivate the skills and motivation necessary for selected low-income high school students to enter and succeed in post secondary education," said Everett. "The dream of a college education should be out of no one's reach and programs like Upward Bound reach out to disadvantaged young people, giving them a chance to realize their dream."

LBW received $325,010 of the total grant monies, more than the other schools, since it has 79 participants in the program while the others have 50 each.

"As I understand it, we have a pretty high rate of retention in our area program," said Dr. Ed Meadows, president of LBW. Although he had not yet gotten official word about receiving the grant, Meadows had been told of it.

"We did get a call from Everett's office to indicate that we were going to be funded for a four-year cycle," said Meadows. "We're elated that our funding for Upward Bound is going to continue because it is critical for the community. These youth we serve would have no other opportunity to prepare for college."

Meadows said the program actively involves college faculty, advisors and other staff members in working with the at-risk students while still in high school.

"These grants will target up to 229 disadvantaged area high school students interested in college," said Everett. "Upward Bound programs provide intensive academic instruction and support to participants in completing college entrance and financial aid applications and preparing them for college entrance exams."

"We also have a special program that lets the children who were in the Upward Bound who have just graduated from high school to enter a summer program at the college to do developmental work that will help them be better prepared for when they start college in the fall," said Meadows.