Upward Bound is a free, year round college prep program for high school students funded by the United States Department of Education through competitive five year grants. The mission of the program is to prepare low-income, potential first-generation college bound students for success in post-secondary education by providing supplementary academic assistance, college readiness developmental instruction, and college admissions information, services and resources. Ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students attending the target high schools in the Anthony, Canutillo, El Paso, and Ysleta School Districts must qualify and successfully complete a rigorous admissions process in order to be selected. Once selected, students remain in the program until their graduation from high school and completion of their first summer semester of university.
From September-December, for three Saturdays a month, Upward Bound provides instruction in math, English, and career readiness skills from 9am-3:30pm. From January-May, the program continues the Saturday scheduling in order to provide instruction in math and ELA in the morning and afternoon instruction in computer skills classes for the ninth and tenth graders, ACT prep classes for the juniors, and Accuplacer prep instruction for the seniors.
In the summer, the students attend a mandatory six-week program from Monday-Friday, 9:30am-3:30pm that provides four weeks of instruction in math, English, history, foreign languages and cultures, financial literacy, life and/or communication skills. The final two weeks are devoted to classes and/or participation in UTEP campus programs that provide STEM-based instruction. The program also provides preparation for and assistance with the college admissions and financial aid processes, college visits for the juniors and seniors, academic counseling, and participation in developmental, cultural and leadership instruction, projects, and events.
The summer immediately following their graduation from high school, Upward Bound graduates are encouraged to participate in a Bridge Program component that guides and assists the students through their first semester of university. Upward Bound has developed collaborations and partnerships with other UTEP departments that provide services, resources, and assistance with testing, registration, advising, orientation, tutoring, and online developmental course in mathematics for the students who need it, course-based academic assistance, meals, and any other transition to university issues that may present themselves.
Monica Delgado, a 2007 Upward Bound graduate, first came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 15. She could not speak a word of English and was enrolled as a freshman in the English as a Second Language program at Ysleta High School in El Paso. Three years later, she graduated 5th in her class and her outstanding academic and extra-curricular credentials qualified her for multiple scholarships, among them the Gates Millennium Scholarship. In 2011, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a BS in Biological Sciences. She is currently at UTEP working on her master's degree in Pathobiology. Her ambition is to achieve an MD/PhD and become a physician or conduct medical research on the causes and cures of diseases common to low income, minority populations.