SIC AWARDED $1.4 MILLION TO HELP LOW INCOME, POTENTIAL FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS ACCESS HIGHER EDUCATION
The U.S. Department of Education announced that Southeastern Illinois College will receive a federal Upward Bound grant of $1.4 million help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college. This is the first time SIC has been awarded the Upward Bound grant.
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.
The five-year grant will allow SIC to provide on-site college preparation for at-risk students (those who may otherwise not attend college) in the participating schools which volunteered and provided data for the grant application: Carmi-White County, Galatia, Gallatin County, Hardin County, and Norris City-Omaha-Enfield. It will enable SIC to hire three full-time employees for the program, and it will fall under the management of SIC Student Services.
“With almost 50 percent of our in-district high school graduates not matriculating to an institution of higher education in 2020, the Upward Bound project will afford SIC the much-needed opportunity to provide essential resources to high school students so they can succeed academically and subsequently to earn a post-secondary credential,” said Kyla Burford, Interim Dean of Student Services.
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 fiscal year 2021, 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 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.
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.
Southeastern Illinois College was founded in 1960 and offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs. At $106 per credit hour, SIC boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the region. More than 70% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarships. SIC serves 4,000 full- or part-time students per year, includes locations in Harrisburg and Carmi, and employs approximately 140 full- and part-time employees. For more information, visit www.sic.edu.