U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced today that the University of South Florida's Upward Bound initiative has won a federal grant of nearly $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Education. Upward Bound at USF helps high school students prepare for the rigors of a college education and successful careers.
"Upward Bound at USF provides an intensive college readiness session for high school students every year," Castor said. "The skills students learn by participating in Upward Bound help them understand higher education opportunities and become top-notch students. Without Upward Bound, too many of our students would fall through the cracks. This initiative is a lifesaver for students, helping them prepare for college and ultimately, their careers."
The goal of Upward Bound is to give students the skills and motivation they need to complete high school and college. Participants must be potential first-generation college students or students from low-income families. Dr. Sharman McRae and USF educators have revamped Upward Bound to ensure that students understand the opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math and health sciences.
"The grant is giving our students the opportunity to explore various careers," said McRae, program director at USF. "We're going to be giving them hands-on experiences. They will have better knowledge of what fields they want to go into."
According to USF, more than 99 percent of students who complete USF's Upward Bound graduate from high school, and more than 99 percent of students who complete USF Upward Bound are accepted into college. During the past two years, more than 85 percent of USF Upward Bound graduates attending college remained in college the following year.
"Students who earn college degrees tend to make more money than those who do not. That benefits not only the individual student but the overall economy and our community," Castor said.
USF's Upward Bound initiative was established in 1965. Castor has been a strong supporter of Upward Bound and works every year to ensure the initiative is funded. In 2007, when the Bush Administration cut funding for Upward Bound at several Florida universities, Castor fought to keep funding intact.