Many alumni and friends of Davis & Elkins College may be unaware of a program on our campus that has been very effective in encouraging first generation and/or low-income high school students to pursue higher education. While located on the D&E campus, this federally funded program has resulted in students attending D&E as well as many other private and public colleges and universities.
With the goal of ensuring students graduate high school and pursue and complete secondary education, D&E Upward Bound serves as a college preparatory program for West Virginia students from Randolph, Barbour, Pendleton, Pocahontas and Tucker counties.
Program Director Carol Suder-Howes and her staff prepare students and families for college by participating in Challenge Sessions focused on career, academic exploration, financial aid, test preparation, college admissions and applications, cultural exploration and community service opportunities. During the summer, Upward Bound students participate in a full-immersion college experience on the D&E campus. They live in the residence halls, and participate in academic, social, cultural and wellness activities. Participants earn college credits and gain invaluable experience to better guide their transition into higher education.
Currently, 138 high school students are enrolled in the Davis & Elkins College Upward Bound program. Participants are provided services at no cost in this U.S. Department of Education program. Established during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, Upward Bound is funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and is among programs referred to as the TRiO Programs. TRiO programs are intended to help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. There are eight programs in all that comprise the Federal TRiO programs. Davis & Elkins College is also pleased to host Veterans Upward Bound designed to increase the rate at which veterans enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs.
Frequently as I speak to groups and encourage financial support of our institution, I discuss the investment we make with our philanthropy in the lives of young men and women. I can think of few things more powerful than quality education. When it comes to the investment of our federal tax dollars, I can think of few things more worthy than preparing our children — whether in K-12 or higher education — for meaningful lives of service and productive work.
First generation college students face significant challenges that do not confront peers who come from families who have the support and benefit of generations of college graduates. Upward Bound is an important enhancement to even this playing field and provide opportunity for success for motivated young people. D&E is honored to host Upward Bound.
It has been my privilege to come to know several students who have matriculated as full-time D&E students following their participation in Upward Bound while in high school. The vast majority have excelled on this campus and will become a part of the bedrock of local communities in the coming decades to improve the quality of life for all our citizens. Like D&E, Upward Bound is making a real and lasting difference in the lives of deserving young men and women.
The journey continues….