After a twenty-year absence, U-Mass-Amherst is re-establishing an Upward Bound program for high school students in Springfield with help from a nearly $1.25 million federal education grant. The University’s Upward Bound program, which began in the mid 1960′s, was created to promote academic and college success for students from low-income families. But the program was suspended in 1993 after U-Mass lost its federal funding. University spokesperson Daniel Fitzgibbons says the new program will involve students from the High School of Commerce as well as Springfield High, an alternative school for students with learning and emotional disabilities. He says partnering with both school’s staffs, the program will include tutoring, career counseling, academic and social support, as well as visits to colleges.
“By plugging in to students early on in high school, you can promote that idea that college is a reality that you can reach and succeed at. And that it’s not just something for somebody in another community.”
Fitzgibbons says with the five year grant, the program will be based in Springfield during the school year. There are also plans for a summer component that will bring high-school students to live on the Amherst campus. Fitzgibbons says efforts are underway this summer to hire a staff for the program, which starts in September. The University program is one of 780 Upward Bound projects nationwide