Upward Bound

A history of preparing students for college

Project Upward Bound is a national program that began in 1966 under the administration of the United States of Economic Opportunity. Chowan University has hosted an Upward Bound program since 1977 when it received its first Upward Bound grant and has served over 3,000 high school students from Hertford, Bertie, and Northampton counties in northeastern North Carolina. In June 2022, the program was suspended at Chowan University pending federal funding.

The History of Upward Bound at Chowan University

Chowan University Upward Bound was a federally funded (U. S. Dept. of Education) program for high school students who want to continue their education beyond high school, but may not be doing well in their regular school setting. The Chowan University Upward Bound program worked annually with high school students from Hertford, Bertie and Northampton Counties in the Roanoke-Chowan region of northeastern North Carolina. In the truest sense, the name Upward Bound should be “College Bound” because the program is specifically designed to work with students who are seriously interested in attending college after graduation from high school, but who may be having difficulty understanding the process and getting their act together. Upward Bound at Chowan University offered its students a full range of instructional, tutorial and counseling services. The program at Chowan was purely academic and cultural in nature and is operated in two phases: a six-week residential summer program on the Chowan campus; and an academic year program that ran the course of the whole school year and concurrently with normal school classes and activities. The academic year program did not replace your normal school year.

During the summer students lived on the Chowan University campus for six weeks and are enrolled in intense courses in math, science, writing, and English. The summer class format is designed along with a college schedule. The summer residential program was difficult, but rewarding. During both the summer and academic year programs there were field trips to plays, museums, art galleries, historic sites, colleges and other educational-cultural events, activities and sites. Heavy emphasis was placed upon academic achievement and cultural awareness and exposure to the arts.

During the academic year the program required students to meet on the Chowan campus a number of times on Saturdays for writing skills classes. The Upward Bound Counselor also met with the students once a week in the target schools. The entire program required a substantial time commitment from the student participants. Staff worked intensively with Upward Bound seniors to ensure that they have varied and appropriate post-secondary options available to them and are able to secure, through financial aid, their education beyond high school. In the past ten (10) years, over 90% of all Chowan Upward Bound affiliated students went to the college of their choice.