Washburn University to help 60 Topeka High students with education journey

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With the help of a new $1.4 million grant, Washburn University will help 60 students from Topeka High School as they pursue higher education.

On Wednesday, June 22, Washburn University says the U.S. Department of Education awarded it more than $1.4 million for a new TRIO Upward Bound grant. During the next five years, it said the grant will increase its ability to help prepare area high schoolers for college success.

WU said Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants as they prepare for entrance to college. It said the program provides chances for students to succeed in their precollege performance and in their higher education pursuits.

Washburn noted that Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.

WU said the Upward Bound grant marks its first TRIO grant and was awarded through a competitive process among institutions with experience serving underrepresented students who succeed in college.

“When I found out I would be the first in my family to attend college, I was excited but I also did not know what to expect,” said Senator Roger Marshall. “The Upward Bound College-Preparation Program assists today’s aspiring students who are in the same situation I was once in. Congratulations to President Farley and everyone at Washburn who worked hard to secure this federal award that will help Topekans succeed during their pursuit of an undergraduate degree.”

The University indicated the Federal TRIO Programs are outreach and student service programs meant to find and provide services for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It said Upward Bound emerged from the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the War on Poverty and is funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

“The goal of Upward Bound is to empower students by helping them develop their academic skills,” said Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University. “That fits with the founding principles of Washburn University and we appreciate the support in pursuing those goals.”

Washburn said its Upward Bound program will provide a broad set of services - including tutoring, academic and career advising, mentoring and financial aid assistance. It said it will also provide students with a summer bridge program and encourage dual enrollment where students can enroll in Washburn classes while still in high school.

“Across the nation, the U.S. Department of Education tells us that 84 percent of Upward Bound students who graduate from high school continue on to enroll in college,” Farley said. “We fully expect to meet or exceed that standard with Washburn’s program.

“This Upward Bound grant provides another opportunity for Washburn University and its community partners -- particularly the Topeka Public Schools -- to create educational pathways that transform student lives and provide Topeka with its future leaders,” said Alan Bearman, dean of library services and the project lead.

Topeka High School Principal Rebecca Morrisey echoed the sentiment and said, “we are excited to work with Washburn University to help more Trojans explore and engage the pathway to post-secondary studies.”

During the next five years, Washburn said the grant will allow it to serve 60 low-income and first-generation students from Topeka High School and help them enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

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