APU’s Upward Bound Program Receives Five-Year, $1.5 Million Grant to Help Azusa Students Prepare for College – Media Relations

Azusa Pacific University’s Upward Bound program recently received a grant from the United States Department of Education in the amount of $297,557 per year for five years, for a total of nearly $1.5 million. This grant allows APU’s Upward Bound program, now in its fifth year, to continue its important partnership with the Azusa Unified School District, helping students learn the skills they need to earn their high school diploma and pursue post-secondary studies.

“Through this new grant, APU and Azusa Unified will build on our successful track record of equipping students to succeed in college,” said Armando Bustos, MS, Project Director for the Upward Program. Bound. “Education is the pathway to a better life for these students and their families. It is an honor to support them and see their academic dreams come true.

Each year, APU’s Upward Bound team serves 60 Azusa High School (AHS) students. When the outgoing class graduates, their places are filled by members of the underclass. The program is free for students. Upward Bound participants enroll in high school preparatory courses so they can apply to California state universities, University of California institutions, and private schools, including APU. They receive services including after-school tutoring, individual academic counseling, academic and career exploration, and assistance with financial and academic aid applications. Additionally, attendees can benefit from participating in Saturday Academy, a series of 16 workshops throughout the year that teach skills in areas such as financial literacy, goal setting, and essay writing. scholarships. The program also helps students explore their college options by visiting different universities each year.

Last year, 19 Upward Bound students graduated from AHS, 17 of whom enrolled in post-secondary education. Several chose to stay local, attending APU, California State, UC, or other area universities. Yerania Serrato-Bucio, valedictorian of the AHS 2021 class and mentor for members of the Upward Bound program underclass, received a full scholarship as a QuestBridge scholar and Gates scholar to study medicine at the University of Notre Dame.

“The Upward Bound program is having a transformative impact on Azusa Unified students, giving them the self-confidence and tenacity needed to succeed in high school and college,” said Arturo Ortega, Superintendent of the Unified School District of Azusa Unified. ‘Azusa. “APU has been a great partner and advocate for AUSD students. Securing an additional five years of funding opens up valuable new opportunities for our new freshmen.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, 91% of AHS Upward Bound participants had a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher; 99% continued to the next school level or obtained a regular high school diploma; and 89 percent enrolled in a post-secondary institution. “What the numbers don’t reflect is the ripple effect,” Bustos said. “Our students come mainly from low-income families. Our goal is that by going to university, they can transform the socio-economic status of their families and help them lead happy and successful lives.

“The Upward Bound grant enables APU to provide education and assistance to students who otherwise may not have the information and inspiration they need to go to college,” said Rukshan Fernando, PhD, Provost. “This work aligns directly with two of our APU cornerstones – community and service, and we are very proud of the APU Upward Bound program for the work they do and the accomplishment of receiving this grant again.”

Bustos said future plans include increasing program offerings to help more students. “We hope to expand TRIO services to other school districts. The TRIO programs represent a collection of other grants that support underrepresented first-generation students in their goals of pursuing post-secondary education,” Bustos said.

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