$1.3M grant to assist high schoolers with college prep

November 1, 2017

Public Relations

Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District, has been awarded a five year, $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science program to help high school students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science. Palo Alto College is one of only seven new Upward Bound program awards – and the only two-year college – funded in Texas this year.

Effective in the 2017-2018 academic year, the Upward Bound program will provide up to 60 East Central High School students each year with math and science-related academic instruction, tutoring, and advising; information on financial aid programs; assistance in completing financial aid applications; financial literacy; and support in applying for college enrollment. 

“Since our founding, Palo Alto College has remained dedicated to ensuring everyone in our community has equal opportunities and resources to continue their education and earn a college degree,” said Dr. Mike Flores, president of Palo Alto College. “With only a few new Upward Bound programs awarded this year, we are fortunate to be able to continue to empower and educate our community and support math and science programs in south Bexar County.”

The TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science program is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of participating students and encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science, and ultimately careers in the math and science profession. 

"This gracious award from the Department of Education supports the district's and community's vision of creating more [STEM] opportunities for our students. We look forward to partnering with Palo Alto in preparing our students for a competitive job market,” said Roland Toscano, superintendent for East Central Independent School District.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations across the country grew by 10.5 percent over a six-year period — and over 99 percent of those occupations require some type of education beyond high school. 

The Upward Bound Math and Science program is one of several TRIO programs at Palo Alto College that provide early access to higher education. The College has also has a $1.2 million TRIO Talent Search grant that supports 500 Southwest High School students annually with academic tutoring and advising; and a $1.5 million TRIO Upward Bound grant that support 77 students annually from Lytle, Jourdanton, Poteet, and Pleasanton High Schools.

“I’ve learned so many things before all my other classmates. I felt so prepared,” said Johanna Martinez, a May 2017 graduate who participated in TRIO Upward Bound through Pleasanton High School. “There’s just so much you can get out of Upward Bound for being prepared for college.” 

The various Upward Bound grants are providing a way for Palo Alto College to continue vital partnerships with high schools to provide early access to higher education, ultimately helping more students earn their high school diplomas and smoothly transition into their post-secondary educational journeys. 

“We provide supplemental instruction and exposure to the college-going culture,” said Nicholas Lopez, senior advisor of TRIO Upward Bound at Palo Alto College. “Everything we do is designed to move them forward and to get them to achieve their goals and objectives.”