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Chemeketa Community College awarded $4.7 million to help low-income, potential first generation college students access higher education

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Chemeketa Community College has a number of ancillary branches within its service district, including Woodburn and Brooks. SALEM — The U.S. Department of Education announced that Chemeketa Community College will receive three federal Upward Bound grants of $4,707,520 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.

Two new Upward Bound grants will enable the program to expand services to five new high schools in Chemeketa's service district: Stayton, Cascade, North Marion, Gervais, and Santiam high schools. Chemeketa's current Upward Bound programs will be expanded at McKay, North Salem, and Woodburn high schools.

Chemeketa spokeswoman Marie Hulett said the school's original Upward Bound program, which serves 74 students each year, has served the community for more than 20 years, helping hundreds of students enroll in and graduate from college; many with full scholarships.

One of the federal TRIO Programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Service), 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.

"I am beyond thrilled to be able to expand Upward Bound services to help more students discover, plan, and navigate their paths to postsecondary opportunities," TRIO Upward Bound and Talent Search Director Lino Solomon said. "Upward Bound is truly a game changer, not only for our students but for their families, schools and communities. The program has a profound ripple effect."

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.

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.

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. 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.

"We are so pleased to be able to bring Upward Bound to more of our partner high schools," Chemeketa President Jessica Howard said. "There is a great need in the community for college and career preparation. We are excited to bring resources to students and their families to make college accessible."

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 nonprofit 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 U.S. state and territory.

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