Grant expands Upward Bound

Colorado Mountain College has obtained a $1.25 million grant to help disadvantaged western Garfield County youth finish high school and succeed in college.

The U.S. Department of Education grant will allow for expansion of CMC’s Upward Bound program, which it currently offers in Lake and Eagle counties.

The college said in a news release Tuesday that it also has received $1.31 million to continue services in those two counties for the next five years.

CMC said the grant approvals came even as more than 170 Upward Bound programs were defunded nationally during the most recent round of grant applications.

Mark McCabe, assistant vice president of student affairs for the college, said in the release that the existing program was extended because of “measurable and significant gains” in student achievement during its first five years.

Eighty-five percent of those counties’ participants graduated from high school, surpassing the statewide on-time graduation rate of 75 percent.

That success also helped lead to the funding of the new, Garfield County program, the college said. The five-year program there will reach another 60 students through CMCs campus in Rifle.

The college said 12,744 youth in Colorado dropped out of high school during the 2010-11 school year, with the dropout rate being highest among disadvantaged students. Upward Bound seeks to help such students when they’re entering ninth or 10th grade.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have permanent residency and meet low-income guidelines, and their parents or guardians cannot have obtained a four-year college degree.

Participants can receive free tutoring in core subjects, preparation for ACT tests, personal and academic counseling, exposure to the campus experience through college field trips, help in pursuing financial aid, and high school credit for attending Upward Bound’s six-week Summer Academy academic immersion experience.

The Garfield County program will target students at Rifle, Coal Ridge and Grand Valley high schools.

“We’re excited to have Upward Bound in the school district,” said Theresa Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the Garfield Re-2 School District, which serves Rifle to New Castle. “We’ve got a great relationship with Colorado Mountain College. It works out to be a great partnership.”

She said the more support students can get, the better, in terms of people working with them and reminding them about the importance of college.

Krisan Crow will direct the program in Garfield County. To learn more or refer a student to the program, she may be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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