By Steve Nakata, Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment
Claudine Richardson (front), Upward Bound director in Ferry and Stevens Counties, with students Kayden Gilmore, Jewell Davis, Brittney Salinas, Senita LavuLavu, Marvin Reyes, Joe LeFaivre, Harmoney Zehetmir, Noah Zehetmir, Elizabeth Larrew, William Dennison, Crystal Andrews, Rachel Denison, Magdalena Morado, Rachel Keedy, and Jenna McCoy.
PULLMAN, Wash. — The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it is awarding Washington State University more than $6 million during the next five years to continue its Upward Bound Programs and establish a new one.
Four WSU Upward Bound Programs received renewed funding including those in Okanogan, Yakima, Ferry and Stevens counties which were established in 2003. A fourth program established in 2007 reaches students in the Columbia Basin.
What came as a pleasant surprise to Lucila Loera, WSU assistant vice president for Federal Programs, was the announcement the U.S. Department of Education also approved WSU's funding request to establish a new program to serve students at Oroville and Tonasket high schools.
"I am very pleased,” Loera said about receiving funding for a new program. "We knew federal funding was especially tight this time and the application process was going to be extremely competitive.”
According to information reported by the Council for Opportunity in Education, there were 1,550 applicants for Upward Bound funding. WSU's five programs were among the 780 successful applicants during the first round. With available funds down about 18 percent nationally from last year, many existing programs received news that they will not be able to continue. In the Pacific Northwest region – which includes Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Oregon – 25-percent of existing programs were not renewed.
"I think what helped us be so successful with our grant proposals is the fact that we have a proven track record of success at WSU with our Upward Bound programs and we still have communities in our state that really need our services,” said Loera.
The funding will allow WSU to continue serving scholars in rural areas who are first-generation, low-income, and/or at risk. The programs help prepare students for academic and social success in college.
"As a TRIO alumnus, I am extremely delighted that we will continue to provide opportunities to the future leaders of the U.S. being served by these programs,” said Claudine Richardson, director of Upward Bound Ferry and Stevens Counties.
Since Richardson's program began, more than 125 Upward Bound scholars from Ferry and Stevens Counties have participated. All of them have achieved a proficient level on standardized tests upon high school graduation. Eighty seven percent of the scholars who enrolled in college returned for their second year.
Janis Koreis, who directs WSU's Upward Bound program serving students in Moses Lake, Soap Lake and Warden, said her eyes filled with tears of joy when she received the news her program would continue. "The reaction among the students and staff was that of triumph, relief and excitement,” she said. "Our program is all about helping students build relationships and make connections.”
Gail Casper, director of the Omak Upward Bound Program, will also provide leadership of WSU's new program in Northern Okanogan County. She said the grant will serve 60 students in Tonasket and Oroville High schools. Well over 50-percent of the students in both schools are living below the state poverty level.
In his letter of support for the grant proposal, Tonasket High School Principal Jeff Hardesty wrote, "The challenges faced by students and families in rural communities like ours that are geographically isolated and with chronically struggling economies are many…WSU's Upward Bound program will provide another resource to build on the Tonasket High School college-going attitude started with the "Achievers” program that we lost several years ago.”
"Upward Bound is a creative program that should be a great partner with Gear Up and with the schools' current counseling curriculum in helping to keep students tracking toward post-secondary,” wrote Tyrone Glanzer, counselor at Tonasket High School.
WSU's new Upward Bound program will begin offering services with the start of the new school year.
Lucila Loera, Assistant Vice President, Federal Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-335-3397
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