VU Upward Bound program awarded $2.25 million grant

2 male Upward Bound students participating in a hands-on activity

July 7, 2022

VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University TRIO Upward Bound program was recently funded $2.25 million to serve populations of first-generation and income-eligible high school students interested in pursuing a college education.

The program, which serves students at 12 area high schools in southwest Indiana, was awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It will receive nearly $450,000 annually for a five-year cycle.

"This grant will help potential first-generation college students advance their education at a two-year or four-year college," VU Upward Bound Director Lisa Spivey said. “Navigating the college preparation process can be a daunting task, and Upward Bound activities can make this a much smoother process for students."

The funding will support Upward Bound offerings such as academic advising, financial literacy, assistance with financial aid applications, cultural activities, SAT/ACT preparation, assistance with college applications, career planning, and tutoring programs.

In addition, Upward Bound students have the opportunity to participate in a six-week residential summer program that gives them a chance to experience life on a college campus. These students reside in a college dorm and learn the independence that they’ll need to succeed in college. They take English, math, laboratory science, and foreign language courses to prepare them for the next school year. After morning classes, students participate in enrichment activities. Enrichment classes this summer include Lego Engineering, Financial Planning, Psychology, Film Literature, Interactive Science, and much more.

Upward Bound also offers a variety of enrichment and cultural activities during the academic year.

The summer after high school graduation, Upward Bound students have the opportunity to earn 12 semester hours of college credit at VU if they meet certain requirements. 

Tyler Evans of Vincennes, Indiana, is an Upward Bound student who attends Lincoln High School. Prior to entering high school, he says he had “little desire to earn a college degree.”

“I entered Upward Bound, and everything changed,” Evans said. “I now wish to never leave education. I want to continue learning and progress in knowledge.”

His post-high school plans are to pursue a career in the medical profession, beginning with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. His goals include obtaining a surgery degree and studying anesthesiology.

“Upward Bound has allowed me to really gain the full college experience,” Evans said. “Something that many of my peers could be doing but are not taking advantage of, and because of Upward Bound, I am able to learn in a fun and exciting way and excel in all the materials provided for me in regular high school. I have never felt closer to success than I do right now in Upward Bound.”

To learn more about Upward Bound, explore