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Highland's Upward Bound program to close amid lack of federal funding

FREEPORTHighland Community Colleges TRIO Upward Bound Program, an early intervention program for high school students wanting to attend college, has been notified that it will not receive its grant funding for the next academic year and will cease offering student services as of August 31.

According to the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), Upward Bound, one of eight federally-funded TRIO services through the Department of Education, had their programming budget cut by $49 million during last years budget negotiations. As a result, eighteen states are losing 25 percent of student programming, with some geographic areas losing more than 40 percent of existing programs. The COE has noted a perceived funding discrepancy in the distribution between rural and urban locations.

Although our need over the years has stayed relatively consistent in our target areas, it appears that this particular federal funding is flowing to areas of greater need, said Highlands Director of Upward Bound Janet Kaiser.

Kaiser explained that need is determined by examining criteria such as the districts drop-out rates, associate and bachelor degree completion rates, as well as student-to-counselor ratios. She reiterated that a need for such immeasurable assistance does still exist but such assistance will no longer be provided by federally-funded TRIO services.

For over 20 years, Highlands Upward Bound program has provided student services, including an intensive summer session set to continue until August. HCC administrators are currently examining alternative options to support first-generation, low-income high school students in their efforts to attend college.

Hundreds of young peoples lives have been touched and changed for the better over the last 22 years, said Kaiser. Past participants who have gone on to successfully complete college have directly attributed their preparation and success to the support they received during their years with Upward Bound.

While the future of the program is uncertain, the COE does plan to contest the federal governments funding decisions. Kaiser encourages individuals to direct their concerns regarding these cuts to Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

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