Part 14: Be Upward Bound!

By Jennifer Browne, Director of Upward Bound at Potomac State College of WVU


Let’s say you’re a high school student at Keyser, Frankfort, Union, Petersburg, Hampshire, or Moorefield High School. Let’s say that neither of your parents went to college let alone finished high school. Let’s say that you’re not sure where the money will come from to go to college. You know your family doesn’t have it. But yet, you have dreams of being a lawyer… a doctor… a professor … a scientist…or any other of hundreds of careers that require at least a bachelor’s degree. What are you to do?

You could take additional classes in math, science, English, and Spanish. You could get tutoring in any of the school subjects in which you might be struggling. You could take trips to museums and other educational destinations so that you can improve your cultural literacy. You could take college visitation trips to see what sorts of colleges are out there. You could get educational counseling to help you learn more about financial aid, general college information, test preparation, and career planning. You could participate in a summer program that would give you a chance to experience what it is like to live on a college campus and to keep your academic skills keen over your summer break.

However, hiring tutors and teachers, paying for travel and going to museums and plays, and participating in academic summer camps all take money. There is a program at Potomac State College of West Virginia and other colleges around the nation that does all that is mentioned above and more for students who qualify as first-generation college students with low-income status. Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO educational opportunity program that has been designed with the goals of improving college access for first-generation, low-income students. The goal of the program is to help these students succeed and graduate from both high school and college.

Upward Bound works according to a plan that has proven to prepare students for their college experiences. A well-prepared student is far more likely to succeed and graduate from college.


The requirements for a student to be eligible for Upward Bound are academic need, first-generation college student, and low-income status.  A student who is doing well may still have academic need if he or she is not performing up to potential.  A student is considered first-generation if neither parent has graduated with a four-year degree.  Even if a parent has attended college, a student may still be considered first-generation if the parent has not graduated from college.  Low-income standing is determined by the family’s taxable income from the previous year.  This year, a family of four is considered low-income for Upward Bound purposes if their taxable (which is lower than gross income) income is less than $28,275.  Contact the Upward Bound office if you have a question about low-income standing and whether or not your family’s taxable income meets the low-income requirements for the program.  We’ll also be happy to send you an application and to answer any questions you might have about the program and its services. Contact Jennifer Browne, Program Director, at 304.788.6928.

Upward Bound is part of the TRIO family along with Student Support Services and Talent Search. The federal TRIO Programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs are available on college and university campuses nationwide.


Additional Resources:


All "College Tips" columns are available at



Community and Technical College System of West Virginia at (304-558-2411)


Mineral County Technical Center at (304-788-4240)

Eastern Community and Technical College at (304-434-8000; or toll free:

Potomac State College of West Virginia University at or (304-788-6820 or toll free: