The Office of Senator Tom Udall recently announced that the UNM-Gallup branch campus has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education Upward Bound grant of nearly $1.3 million. The goal of Upward Bound Projects is to increase local high school graduation rates, college admission and degree completion.

Qualifying participants include students from low-income families or those from families in which neither parent has completed a bachelor’s degree. 

Jayme McMahon, director of Student Affairs at UNM-Gallup, was instrumental in the preparation of the grant proposal and will serve as the project’s principal investigator. 

“This grant offers us a great opportunity to provide fundamental support for high school participants in their preparation for college while exposing them to the many options they have when it comes to postsecondary education,” says McMahon. “Many students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, do not think they can be successful in college when in fact they just need some targeted help in learning how to navigate the higher education experience.”

The grant has been awarded at an amount of $257,500 for the first year—starting this fall, with a total award amount of $1,287,500 over five years.  

Upward Bound projects provide academic support and instruction to eligible high school students in a wide range of academic subjects.  Assistance is offered through tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment programs and services designed to improve financial and economic literacy.  Services such as weekly visits to target schools, Saturday Academy sessions and summer programming are all part of the Upward Bound model.  

McMahon added, “Nationally, the outcomes achieved by Upward Bound have shown that this extra support may be all students need to reach academic goals they didn’t even know were possible.”