LUBBOCK, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — The following is a press release from Texas Tech University:

Texas Tech University has a long history of providing the Upward Bound program to high school students in the Lubbock community. The university has renewed its commitment to this vital program by applying for and receiving a $1.4 million grant to be used over the next five years. The grant will focus on serving four high schools in the Lubbock Independent School District and reach approximately 60 students. 

“When I arrived at Texas Tech four years ago, it was evident there was a strong connection established between the university and the community through our long history with Upward Bound,” said Carol A. Sumner, chief diversity officer and vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “We made the commitment to reapply, showing our strong and unwavering commitment to Lubbock youth and their families.”

One of the seven federally funded TRIO programs, Upward Bound supports high school students from families in which neither parent or guardian holds a bachelor’s degree, also known as first-generation students; and high school students from low-income backgrounds succeed academically and ultimately graduate from college. 

“Being able to serve Lubbock-area high school students and their families and partner with the Lubbock Independent School District is critical for the future of our community and the generations to come,” said Jade Silva Tovar, assistant vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “I am enthusiastic for Texas Tech Upward Bound to provide academic skill development, college preparation and career exploration to Lubbock youth as they realize their future aspirations.”

According to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau, 17% of families live at or below 150% of the poverty level in the U.S. However, in the Lubbock target school area, 27% of families live at or below this level. For these families, it can be difficult to help their child navigate graduating high school and going to college, while trying to meet every day living expenses. 

“In an area with disproportionate poverty levels, a rise in unemployment rates cause strains for working-class families and single parent households,” Silva Tovar said. “This negatively impacts children, especially those living in poverty.”

This becomes a cycle that affects many Lubbock residents. The purpose of Upward Bound is to break that cycle and give young adults more options for their future. The program does this through tutoring, academic skill development, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, work-study programs, college exploration and career counseling services. There is also special focus on instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages. 

“We’re honored to work with our longtime partner, Texas Tech University,” said Kathy Rollo, superintendent of Lubbock ISD. “We look forward to implementing Upward Bound programs at our high schools, providing another pathway for our students to achieve college readiness and prepare for postsecondary success.” 

(Press release from Texas Tech University)