College hopefuls rise onward and upward with TRIO program

Texas State University continues to assist select groups of students from varying high schools through the Upward Bound program.

Ray Cordero, Grant Director at Texas State University, said the Upward Bound Program, an early academic intervention and college prepatory program, is one of three the university programs called TRIO.

“What Upward Bound is designed to do is to provide academic assistance and intervention for high school students and then assistance in enrollment in post-secondary institutions,” Cordero said. “It’s an amazing experience for them because of the amount of growth it provides. It’s an enjoyable experience for everybody.”

The history of TRIO began with Upward Bound in 1964, which emerged after the Economic Opportunity Act in response to the administration’s “War on Poverty”.

In 1965, the second part of the program Talent Search, was created as part of the Higher Education Act.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.

In 1968, Student Support Services was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments with the goal of increasing the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs.

By the late 1960s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these federal programs.

“TRIO is significant to Texas State as Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Act on the campus,” said Cordero. “In a sense, Texas State is essentially the birthplace of the TRIO programs.”

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services to reach more students who need assistance.

Additionally in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math and Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science.

Cordero said the Upward Bound program is designed to provide low income and first generation high school students support for the need of higher education.

“TRIO at large are social justice programs to level the playing field,” said Cordero.

According to Cordero, Upward Bound differs from Talent Search in the quantity of students within the respective programs.

“With Upward bound, we generally have a lower number of students in the program whereas in Talent Search the number could be in the hundreds,” said Cordero.

He also said 89 students are currently participating in the program. 

Thirty students participate from Lehman High School, 30 from San Marcos High School and 29 from Seguin High School.

While students are selected based on income and their family’s education history, they must also show an academic need that is recommended by a counselor or teacher.

While in the Upward Bound program, students are offered a litany of free and helpful services to guide them through high school and prepare for college.

Such services include Afterschool Academic Enrichment, which focuses on assisting students with their studies and college trips where students are taken to various campuses, including Texas State.

Others include college and career explorations that are best suited to each individual student.

Texas State also hosts a six-week residential program in which students actually live on campus and attend classes.

Cordero said the Upward Bound program not only helps better prepare for a higher education, it helps establish long lasting friendships.

“We see a lot of our students graduate and stay friends,” said Cordero. “Student get to meet other kids and realize a lot of them have gone through the same experiences.”

Students enrolled in Lehman, San Marcos and Seguin High Schools may find more information on the Upward Bound Program on the Texas State website.

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