Four colleges in Maine will get more than $2 million in federal money for a program that helps first-generation, low-income students get into and succeed in college.
Upward Bound programs at the University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Southern Maine will receive much of the funding, but the largest award will go to Bowdoin College’s.
Bridget Mullen, the director of Upward Bound at Bowdoin, says the program provides support services and a summer program for high school students, and she says it represents a commitment to go to college.
“They’re making a commitment to that process and saying, ‘I am going to go to college, and I’m going to fill out the forms that are required, and do the hard, hard work that’s involved not just for admissions but for the financial aid side,’” she says. “We’re guiding them to take the most challenging courses they can. If their GPA falls they’ll be required to do some tutoring, some academic coaching. And of course participation in the summer program is a big part of the experience.”
Bowdoin’s program has been running for more than 50 years and is the oldest in Maine. It currently works with 107 students from 11 high schools in Washington County and southern Maine. But Mullen says that’s changing.
“This year for the first time in a very long time, we’ve grown the program and we’re going to expand to reach another 60 students,” she says.
Those 60 students will be from high schools in Waldoboro, Danforth and Wiscasset.
Upward Bound students in the Bowdoin program aren’t required to go to Bowdoin — Mullen says the program focuses on matching students with schools that are a good match for them, and that they can afford.
An application from the University of Maine Presque Isle is still under review after an initial rejection over some minor formatting issues.
An earlier version of this story requires correction. Bowdoin's Upward Bound program currently works with 107 students, not 60. Danforth is in Washington County, not Lincoln County.