The Department of Education has issued new guidelines for the Upward Bound program, which is aimed at preparing high school students from low-income families and those whose parents do not hold college degrees for higher education.
The “final priority,” which appeared in the Federal Register on Sept. 22, requires all new students selected for Upward Bound programs to have completed 8th grade, but not yet finished 10th grade. Previously, any student who had completed 8th grade, but had not yet finished 11th grade, could be selected. The new rules also call for 30 percent of a program’s participants to be at risk for academic failure.
The guidance also calls for a study of the program’s effectiveness. To carry out the study, some Upward Bound programs will be required to recruit at least twice the number of students they plan to serve during the 2007-08 program year. An evaluator will then assign some students to participate in the program, allowing others to serve in a control group.
Susan Trebach, a spokeswoman for the Council on Education Opportunity, a Washington-based organization that advocates for Upward Bound, said her group “adamantly objects” to the rule change. She said the new priority would make it harder for program directors to identify and serve students who might benefit from the program. She noted that the Bush administration has sought to eliminate Upward Bound in fiscal year 2007; Congress is poised to restore funding for the program.
An Education Department official said the new priority would help focus the program on “low-income, first-generation students that have a high academic risk for failure. Those students stand to gain the greatest benefits from program services,” the official said.
A version of this article appeared in the October 04, 2006 edition of Education Week