Upward Bound

The Upward Bound program provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in higher education pursuits.

Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from institutions of post-secondary education.

What is Upward Bound?

Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for first-generation and/or income-eligible high school students. It is designed to prepare youths for education beyond high school by providing appropriate academic, cultural, and social programs that develop the skills, attitudes, and motivation necessary for post-secondary education.

Upward Bound provides instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and foreign language. Other services include:

  • Instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and other subjects necessary for success in education in high school and college.
  • Academic, financial, or personal counseling
  • Exposure to academic programs and cultural events
  • Tutoring and mentoring services
  • Information on post-secondary education opportunities
  • Assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications
  • Assistance in preparing for college entrance exams
  • Work-study positions to expose participants to careers requiring a post-secondary degree
  • Scholarship searches and assistance with completing scholarship applications
Academic Year Services

Upward Bound participants receive a variety of services throughout the school year, offered at target high schools, online, and on the Iowa State University campus. All services are free to participants.

  • Saturday Sessions once a month on the Iowa State University campus (transportation is provided)
    • Free tutoring in calculus, geometry, algebra, biology, chemistry, and physics
    • Workshops on topics such as financial aid, completing the FAFSA, money management, study skills, career exploration, and many others
    • Enjoy lunch in an Iowa State dining hall
  • Online tutoring is accessible 24/7 through the PhotoStudy App
  • Monthly meetings with an Upward Bound Advisor at target high schools
  • Workshop sessions with families 
  • Career inventories and job shadowing opportunities through Virtual Job Shadow
  • ACT and/or SAT test preparation
  • College visits
  • Monthly cash stipends for meeting certain participation requirements
Summer Program

The Summer Program is a six-week program held on the Iowa State campus in June and July. Upward Bound students take classes to help them prepare for the upcoming school year, participate in a variety of activities, and live in the Iowa State residence halls during the week.

Classes are offered in literature, composition, math, laboratory science, foreign language, as well as elective classes in the areas of career and social awareness. Although academic preparation is the primary focus of the summer component, there are many recreational activities provided.

On the last day of the academic session, a banquet is held for family members. Students are honored for academic achievements and present highlights of their summer classes and activities. The summer component concludes with an overnight college and cultural trip to a large metropolitan area.

All necessary expenses are covered by Upward Bound.