Monday, February 13, 2017

Closing the Gap - History of TRIO and Upward Bound

Ohio University Upward Bound - 1968
History of TRIO
The TRIO programs we know and love arose from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. At the time, poverty was a pervasive issue and was being largely ignored by the public. This resulted in large gaps between the rich and the poor—to the point that the federal government decided to intervene.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration created the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, supporting anti-poverty programs in education, community building and job training at the local level. The first educational opportunity program to emerge from this act was Upward Bound, a program that serves high school students from low-income families and those whose parents do not hold bachelor’s degrees. Upward Bound provides skills and support for these students so they can successfully enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

In 1965, the second educational opportunity program, Talent Search, was created as part of the Higher Education Act.  Talent Search provides academic, career and financial counseling to disadvantaged youths while encouraging them to graduate from high school and complete postsecondary education. The program educates participants on the availability of financial aid and assists with applications for postsecondary institutions.

Student Support Services was the third educational opportunity program to surface in 1968, aiming to increase college retention and graduation rates. This program provides undergraduate students opportunities for academic development, assistance with basic college requirements and motivates students to complete their postsecondary education. Participants may also receive additional grant aid if they are receiving Federal Pell Grants.
The three federal programs coined the term “TRIO” in the late 1960s. However, over the years, these services have expanded through the US Department of Education to reach more students who need assistance.

The Educational Opportunity Centers program (1972) serves adults wishing to continue postsecondary education. The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (1986) identifies and serves Ph.D. students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through the Training Program for Federal TRIO Staff (1976), funds are awarded to institutions to support training and skill enhancement of project directors and staff employees. Veterans Upward Bound program (1972) assists veterans in obtaining the necessary skills to complete postsecondary education. Upward Bound Math and Science (1990) works directly with those interested in obtaining a degree in a related field.

Today, these educational opportunity programs have grown to serve an estimated 790,000 low income, first generation students at more than 2,800 TRIO programs nationwide, providing invaluable support and educational services to students in need.

History of OHIO UB
Ohio University Upward Bound was established in 1967. We now serve 17 high schools in 9 counties in the Southeast Ohio area. Through our program, students participate in monthly workshops, learning about various postsecondary related topics and enhancing their academic skills. The workshops cover subjects from ACT Prep, to financial aid, to the college search and application process. Tutoring services are also available at the monthly workshops, giving students an extra push in an area they may be struggling with.

Our services extend beyond academics. Through our workshops, students learn healthy ways to manage stress, ways to get involved outside of the classroom and opportunities for a multicultural experience, among others.  Students also participate in university tours to get a better understanding of the college atmosphere and what factors matter most to them.
During our summer residential phase, Upward Bound students stay on Ohio University’s Athens campus for six weeks, taking high school- and college-level classes to assist them in a successful transition to the next grade. These courses cover academics, study skills and fine arts. The goal is to ultimately prepare participants for college life—on an academic, social and personal level.

Ohio University Upward Bound has been operating successfully for 50 years. We have seen our graduates go on to pursue careers in nursing, cyber security, game design and animation, chemistry and many more.

With the help of Upward Bound and other TRIO programs, students are able to acquire the skills, confidence and support they need to conquer the next step. We will continue to help our participants succeed while pushing to close the gap between low-income and high-income students in the education system. 

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