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UNCP’s Upward Bound program wins funding

July 17, 2007

The Upward Bound program of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was re-funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The four-year grant is for more than $1.2 million. Upward Bound originated in 1965 and has been at UNCP for 24 years.

UNCP’s program serves promising low income students from Robeson and Hoke counties by providing fundamental support in their preparation for college entrance. The program’s 6-week residential summer camp has 65 participants this summer.

Upward Bound at UNCP is very successful, said Director Larry McCallum. In the last nine years, 100 percent of UNCP’s Upward Bound participants graduated from high school, and 97 percent of all its participants went to college.

“The program continues to do what it was designed to do – that is to prepare students for success in college,” McCallum said. “Our funding has been uninterrupted since its inception in 1973.”

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said the program is one example of UNCP’s successful outreach into its communities.

“UNCP is committed to its many outreach programs, including Upward Bound,” Chancellor Meadors said. “Upward Bound has changed and is changing the lives of its participants and paving the way for attendees’ academic and lifelong success.”

Other programs in North Carolina and the Southeastern U.S. were not as lucky. A third of the Tar Heel state’s 21 programs were not funded for 2007-08. There is an effort in Congress to restore funding to the programs.

“The proposal process this year was extremely competitive, so I am especially grateful that we have a very strong program that was reflected in a solid grant proposal,” McCallum said. “The loss of programs nationwide is a loss for students who will not be given the opportunity to gain critical preparation for the college experience.”

UNCP’s Upward Bound program employs six full-time and 20 part-time employees, including high school teachers and college students working as tutors, mentors and counselors.

Many Upward Bound participants are first-generation college students. About a third of the new participants are high school students at-risk for academic failure. 

Project services include the components of:

  • academic enrichment,
  • counseling in groups and individually,
  • advising in areas such as financial aid information, and assistance inapplying to college,
  • tutoring,
  • mentoring, and
  • cultural and social activities. 

“The objectives of the program are designed to meet the specific needs of students in the target areas, McCallum said. “Core and advanced classes are offered in math, science, language arts, foreign language, critical thinking, study skills, career and personal development and a variety of electives.”

UNCP’s Web publisher and Lumbee Tribal Council member Lawrence Locklear, a NC State graduate who recently earned a Master of Public Administration degree at UNCP, said the program worked for him.

“I was the first person in my family to go to college. Upward Bound gives students a feel for what college is like,” Locklear said. “No question, it was a springboard for my success in college and in professional life. It’s an opportunity to succeed.”

McCallum was the grant’s author or “principle investigator.” He worked with the University’s Center for Sponsored Research and Programs on the proposal.

For more information about Upward Bound or TRIO programs, please contact them at 910.521.6276 or email

For more information about Sponsored Research and Programs at UNCP, please contact them at 910.521.6494 or email