TRiO Program Upward Bound was Renewed for the Next Five Years


Upward Bound

September 2022

Finishing it’s 56th year the Upward Bound Program (UBP) at the University of South Florida (USF) had its funding renewed for another five years. It will receive $824,000 a year to enhance and develop low income and first-generation high schoolers academic and life skills. This will assist them while progressing and graduating high school and the knowledge and preparation for college. The UBP program is the oldest ongoing program in TRiO.

There are 170 students in the program. When accepted into the program students, make a time commitment to the program. This includes twice a week evening tutoring sessions and Saturday tutoring and a six-week program in the summer. They may miss Saturdays hanging out with friends or summer activities. They enter the program knowing it requires dedication to building their academic skills.

Also, UBP was notified that they received the Upward Bound Math-Science Grant after reciving a perfect score on the grant proposal. The grant will fund a program with the same services as UPB but with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math focus. The budget is $297,537 for five years totalling $1.4 million. This grant would serve students at Leto, Jefferson, and Brandon High Schools who have a strong interest in STEM areas.

“The summer career internships helped me explore some backup options, as they gave different careers in that field. Upward Bound helped me prepare for college by helping me on how to create an ePortfolio, a resume, and with SAT/ACT prep. If I were in a conversation with an admissions officer or recruiter, I would talk about my ambition, work ethic, and determination on getting where I want to be,” said Jabes Romer-Meija, senior at Middleton High School.

This summer UBP was back to normal programming with four of the six weeks students living on USF campus, and a college tour weekend. The days are full while living on campus students wake up at 6:30 AM and the day ends at 10 PM or 11 PM.  From 9 AM to 3 PM teachers work with students to prepare them for the first nine weeks of fall classes. Some of the day time activities can also include hands on experiences such as seeing a USF research lab, workshops with USF professors where students hear about the professors’ personal and academic. After 3 PM, activities could be sports, fun academic related activities, talent shows, Mr. and Ms. UPB, and more. Every activity is geared towards building life, social, and academic skills.

Joshua Colon, River Ridge High School senior commented on the program, “The medical internship experience at USF gave the great opportunity to know what it's like to be in the medical field with activities showcasing different jobs. Being able to speak to field professionals and those taking acting roles consisting of the type of varies individuals that we will possibly encounter shed some much-needed light on the whole of it all.”

Upward bound

The summer campus tour included the University of North Florida, Savannah State College, and Armstrong University, an escape room experience, dinner on a Riverboat Cruise which included dancing, and on the way home a stop at Wild Adventures Park in Valdosta Georgia. This all happened in three days and two nights! 

Kira Washington told about her UBP experience,, “My favorite upward bound memory is probably the pageant because it really gave all of us more time to bond and really have fun. The program really helps us come out of our shell and get to know each other more. One of the activities that we have done that impacted me has probably been all of the college tours that we take because it really gives me the opportunity to see the different college styles and what type of college I want to go to in the future

This pre-college path continued to USF for five of the 2022 UBP high school graduates. They have enrolled in the Student Support Services program which assists first time and/or income students with their transition from high school to and through graduation at USF.