Grant will keep Upward Bound going at Livingstone

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
Livingstone College has been awarded a $250,000 grant under the Upward Bound Program, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week.
Moreover, Livingstone’s grant notification said “it is anticipated that the grant will be for a total of five years,” meaning the college could receive as much as $1.25 million.
The news is significant.
Upward Bound is among eight Federal TRIO Programs that serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities during various junctures in their academic careers. Upward Bound, for example, works with high school students to help them get interested in college. Its goal is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of higher learning.
But the TRIO Programs have experienced severe budget cuts in recent years, going from $904.27 million in funding in fiscal year 2010 to $835.50 million this year. Those funding cuts could have spelled doom for Upward Bound at Livingstone College, where last summer 50 students spent six weeks on campus taking classes taught by certified teachers and getting a taste of what to expect.
Livingstone College has offered Upward Bound for the past five years. Director Tamesha Hooker is certain the program has resulted in college enrollment for some students who wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
“Upward Bound is vital for many students because it places them in a college setting for several weeks and gives them a pretty good idea of what to expect when they actually enroll,” Hooker said. “Livingstone’s Upward Bound Program is intensive because we want the students to fully understand what will be expected of them and to get a sense of the rigors of college life.
“Of course, because Upward Bound participants are high school students, we strive to incorporate some fun activities into their time on campus,” Hooker continued. “For example, last year Upward Bound students went to Charleston, and in 2010 they visited three Florida higher education institutions and also the NASA Kennedy Space Center.”
Demrest Barkley, 18, is a freshman at Fayetteville State University. The Salisbury resident participated in Upward Bound at Livingstone College for three years. She was also accepted at Livingstone, St. Augustine’s College and Johnson C. Smith University.
“I chose FSU because I like the campus and when I toured the school I liked the atmosphere and what I saw there,” Barkley said. “I like the student-teacher ratio, the faculty and students there and the price.”
Barkley, a psychology major, said she plans to go to graduate school and ultimately become a guidance counselor.
“Upward Bound had a major influence on me going to college, and it taught me the importance of furthering my education,” Barkley said. “I’m grateful to Livingstone for affording me the opportunity to attend Upward Bound. I think Upward Bound is an excellent program, and if I ever had the chance I would actually go back and work the program to tell kids that by enrolling in it they can become successful. Participating in the program in the summer helps you keep up with your studies … and I would say to all high school students in the community to take advantage of Upward Bound.”
Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. is grateful for the opportunity to help students like Barkley — no matter where they attend college.
“I am excited about and proud of the fact that we were successful in obtaining grant money to continue Upward Bound,” Jenkins said. “Because of budget cuts the competition was much stiffer this year; however, Mrs. Hooker and officials in our office of institutional effectiveness collaborated to draft a proposal worthy of consideration and, ultimately, a grant. I’m confident we’ll continue offering an outstanding program here at Livingstone that will make it abundantly clear to the young people participating that college is vital to their future success, and I’m very grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for awarding us the grant.”