Upward Bound Impact Grows, Grant Renewed
The University of North Georgia (UNG) Upward Bound Program continues to expand how it helps underrepresented and underserved high school students prepare for college.
This fall, the program took 30 students to the San Francisco area to visit Stanford University; the University of California-Berkeley; California State University, East Bay; and other cultural learning sites in this region. Although Upward Bound students from Johnson High School in Gainesville, GA and Gilmer High School in Ellijay, GA regularly visit the colleges, this was the largest trip yet.
UNG received a five-year, $1.4 million renewal through August 31, 2027 of its Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are thrilled that both UB programs have been renewed for an additional five years to continue supporting students and their families in Hall and Gilmer counties. During the first grant award, UB staff has worked continuously to increase program visibility and awareness, post-secondary retention and enrollment,” said Dr. Latrice Richardson, Director of UNG Pre-College Access Grant Programs. “In this new round of grants, we look forward to building on our successes and overcoming countless challenges so that more TRIO-eligible students have better access to the colleges and universities of their choice.
In addition to college visits, Upward Bound offers twice-weekly tutoring, ACT and SAT prep, and a summer institute that helps students achieve their goals.
We are pleased that both UB programs have been renewed for another five years to continue supporting students and their families in Hall and Gilmer counties.
Dr. Latrice Richardson
Director of UNG Pre-College Access Grant Programs
Abby Humphrey, associate director of Upward Bound at UNG, said she couldn’t ask for more rewarding work.
“I’m a first-generation college student and my mom is an immigrant. So just having this program, I see the benefit. I see myself in all of these students,” Humphrey said. “These students have the desire and the drive to go to college, but they don’t necessarily know how. They have the skills, but they just need guidance in applying to schools.”
Jasmin Partida, a senior at Johnson High, said being part of Upward Bound helped her build her social skills and confidence when it came to her college studies.
“Before, I felt like I wouldn’t go far because I didn’t have that support. But I have that support now,” Partida said. “I know I’ll go far. I just have to ask for this help and know it’s there for me.”
Leslie Benitez, a senior at Gilmer High, said Richardson’s leadership helped pave the way for her college journey by pushing Benitez out of her comfort zone. She remembers staying in a UNG dorm the summer before her junior year of high school for the Upward Bound Summer Institute and being intimidated by the college campus.
“We’ve been to so many colleges to the point where I know where my comfort level is now,” Benitez said. “I was really scared, but now I’m not.”
The tour guide’s advice on the group’s recent trip to Stanford stood out to Benitez as she heard him talk about the prestigious university.
“It’s not that big, unreachable stuff,” Benitez said. “He made it seem like there’s no limit to your dreams or your aspirations.”
Partida recommends Upward Bound to anyone interested in pursuing higher education.
“They will help us with whatever we need,” Partida said. “If you’re trying to get into college, you really should look into the curriculum.”