North Central Missouri College Awarded over $1.4 Million to Help Low Income, Potential First Generation College Students Access Higher Education

TRIO Upward Bound will provide five years of funding to help local students find their paths to college.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that North Central Missouri College will receive a federal Upward Bound grant of $1,488,005 or $297,601 annually for five years to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college. NCMC has sponsored an Upward Bound Program since 1999 and serves 50 students per year. The high schools that will be served in the successful grant include Trenton, Brookfield, Chillicothe, Gallatin, Penney (Hamilton), and Tri-County (Jamesport).

One of the federal TRIO Programs, Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree.

Many Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, among them Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, Correspondent for ABC News John Quiñones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to offer these valuable services to high school students in our local area,” said Janet Pultz, Trio Director “Through college visit and cultural experiences, students have unparalleled opportunities in UB to explore the world beyond north central Missouri. At a cost of $5,952 per student per year, Upward Bound represents a significant investment in the future of our local youth.”

Campus-based Upward Bound programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.

“I am proud of the work our Upward Bound staff has done to obtain the Upward Bound grant once again,” said Dr. Lenny Klaver, NCMC President. “NCMC is fortunate to have a long-standing and successful Upward Bound program and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue the grant.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In FY21, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound TRIO projects in the United States.

“Upward Bound is an important part of North Central Missouri College’s mission to serve students throughout our region,” said Dean of Instruction Mitch Holder. “Students participating in Upward Bound benefit from academic tutoring, college planning, college visits, cultural visits, along with ACT and end-of-course (EOC) exam preparation activities. The summer program allows students to build connections with their peers from other schools and communities in our region, while getting a glimpse of what it’s like to be a college student.”

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 to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success, bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like Upward Bound take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.

As of 2021, over 3,000 TRIO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants yearly. TRIO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.