IPFW awarded $2.58 million in grants to assist area HS students in need Helps those from low-income families who are first-generation or have disab

Associate Vice Chancellor of Admissions Ken Christmon always says that every day is a good day at IPFW.

But at a news conference Tuesday, Christmon proclaimed that there was even more to be excited about than usual.

The university announced the reauthorization of a pair of U.S. Department of Education grants earmarked for the two Upward Bound programs that IPFW offers. The outreach services are intended to help prospective students who are low-income, first-generation and have disabilities succeed in their quest to reach college and excel.

The two grants total $2.58 million over five years, fully funding the program that has helped over 400 students and their families since the services were first offered at IPFW in 2004.

“Fort Wayne is home to a lot of great people who just need a helping hand,” Christmon said. “If we give people just a little bit of boost, they are going to achieve a lot not just for themselves and their families, but also their city and the nation.”

The Upward Bound program is anchored primarily in four area high schools – North Side, South Side, New Haven and Northrop. Other students who begin their secondary education in one of those four schools but transfer elsewhere are still eligible to be involved in the program.

The services involved in Upward Bound are numerous. Everything from qualified personnel within the high schools to help those in need to numerous workshops, tutoring sessions, weekend schooling and on-campus summer sessions are funded by the grants.

According to Nicholas Gray, project director of Upward Bound, over 700 hours of tutoring services, 250 hours of Saturday school, summer academies and numerous college visits, leadership conferences and cultural activities are also now funded for an additional five years.

“The Upward Bound program exposes students to the challenges they will face as a first-generation college student,” Gray said. “The program works hard to make sure all their students have the tools and knowledge to overcome those hurdles and be successful not only in college, but in life as well.”

Christmon said that close to 1,000 universities apply for the grants, with only a few hundred making the cut. For a university to be awarded two grants is extremely rare.

The program assist about 100 students per year in each of the participating schools across the four grade levels.

Naw Sar Do, a senior at North Side, said “Being a part of Upward Bound gives me an opportunity to talk and listen to many individuals from different professions and get a better understanding of how they do their job and helps me pick the job for me.”

While the program does not restrict participation to those students planning to attend IPFW, it no doubt gives the university a boost in enrollment. More than half of the students who come to IPFW are first-generation college students.

Since the program was first offered at IPFW in 2004, over $8 million in federal grants have been awarded to the university.