Grays Harbor College Awarded $2.8 Million to Help Low-Income, Potential First-Generation College Students Access Higher Education

Posted on: May, 26, 2022

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TRIO Upward Bound will provide students at Raymond, Ocosta, and Hoquiam High Schools with academic enrichment courses, personal mentoring and coaching, and assistance with college, financial aid, and scholarship applications.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Grays Harbor College has received two competitive, federal grants to establish Upward Bound programs at Raymond, Ocosta, and Hoquiam high schools beginning this September. Once established, the programs will support GHC’s efforts to help local students earn high school diplomas and pursue postsecondary education.

Raymond and Ocosta will share an Upward Bound program that will serve up to 30 students in 9th through 12th grade annually at each school, while Hoquiam will have its own Upward Bound program that will serve up to 60 high school students per year. Both projects have been funded at $287,537 per year for five years, totaling $2,875,370. GHC can apply to renew the funding following the projects’ fifth year. 

“We are excited to have received these grants and to be working with our partners in Grays Harbor and Pacific County schools,” said JEB Thornton, director of grant development and administration at GHC. “We believe Upward Bound will provide new opportunities to local students that will help prepare them for the challenges of postsecondary education and will ultimately help them achieve their full potential.”

With the goal of increasing high school graduation rates, enrollment, and success in postsecondary education, Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that focuses on assisting high school students from low-income households, rural students, and/or students from households in which the parent or guardian does not hold a bachelor’s degree. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation.

The Upward Bound funds allocated to GHC can cover services such as tutoring and academic support, assistance with college and financial aid applications, academic advising, SAT and ACT preparation, college tours, and other student support services, as well as cultural enrichment opportunities like field trips, performances, and special events.

“Upward Bound is a very competitive, national grant program and this is a great honor and accomplishment for our community,” said Cal Erwin-Svoboda, vice president of student services at GHC. “Upward Bound and other programs like it offer much-needed educational access and student success resources and we are thrilled to provide this opportunity to students in our area.”

Upward Bound is one of the Department of Education’s TRIO programs and is 100 percent federally funded. In addition to Upward Bound, GHC participates in TRIO’s student support and STEM services. Last fall, the college also received a grant to fund the TRIO Educational Opportunity Center, currently located on GHC’s Aberdeen and Raymond campuses and serving adults who are under-represented, low-income, and/or first-generation college students. Like the EOC, Upward Bound is focused on helping students enter and succeed in education, from GED to PHD, and to attend any postsecondary institution including, but not limited to, GHC.