AT&T Inc. announced a $200,000 contribution to support the Upward Bound Program at Case Western Reserve University. The Upward Bound program was established in 1966 and is designed to prepare low-income and potential first-generation college high school students for successful postsecondary studies.
Because of its solid record of proven results, the Upward Bound program has been named one of 47 recipients nationwide that will share in nearly $10 million from AT&T. With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, the AT&T Aspire program is one of the largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. AT&T announced an additional quarter-billion-dollar expansion to the program earlier this year, bringing the total commitment to $350 million.
Applicants were evaluated based on their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. After a rigorous and competitive process, the Upward Bound program was identified as making a real difference in the community by supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school, graduate and prepare for the next step in life.
“Since the Upward Bound program was introduced in 1966, more than 3,000 high school students have benefited from the one-on-one mentoring, while hundreds who may have otherwise dropped out were able to earn their diplomas,” said Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder. “We are grateful for AT&T’s generous support of a program with such life-changing possibilities.”
High school students who attend any one of four Cleveland public schools, grades nine through 12, are eligible for participation in the Upward Bound program. The program is year-round and includes a six-week summer residential component and a well-developed academic year component. During the summer in a simulated college environment, students live in university residence halls, receive intensive academic instruction in mathematics, natural sciences with laboratory experience, English/literature, reading, study skills, computer science and foreign language. They also participate in a community service project.
“There is no greater investment that any organization can make than in the education of Ohio’s future leaders,” said State Sen. Shirley Smith. “The work of the Upward Bound program at Case Western Reserve University is to be commended, as it keeps our youth on track to graduate high school and prepare them to succeed in college and the workforce.”
During the academic year, students participate in the Saturday Enrichment Program, which provides academic courses and instruction for passing the Ohio Graduation Test. Students also attend weekly tutorials and participate in workshops that focus on personal growth and development. Furthermore, college planning and placement assistance, the SAT/ACT review program (Math and English components), and individual/group counseling and advising (personal, academic and career) are active areas of the program year-round. Annually, the program serves 110 high school students. Services are free.
“Keeping our teenagers in high school and preparing them for success after graduation benefits our students and our communities,” said Tom Pelto, president of AT&T Ohio. “The Upward Bound program has a proven graduation strategy that is helping at-risk youth stay in school and succeed academically. We are proud to support this program.”
Students who drop out of high school are almost twice as likely to be unemployed than high school graduates and they earn far less money. Studies also cite those that drop out are eight times as likely to be incarcerated, and far more likely to require public assistance such as housing subsidies, food stamps and utility assistance.