The Upward Bound Program provides Federal grants for three types of projects: (1) Regular Upward Bound projects; (2) Upward Bound Math and Science Centers; and (3) Veterans Upward Bound projects

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January 2012

AVID Center

Grant Program Overview: The Upward Bound Program (Regular Program)

Upward Bound (Regular) Program Overview

The Upward Bound Program provides Federal grants for three types of projects: (1) Regular Upward Bound projects; (2) Upward Bound Math and Science Centers; and (3) Veterans Upward Bound projects. This competition is for grants under the Regular Upward Bound projects only.

The proposal deadline is January 30, 2012, with proposals submitted via
Program Purpose, Objectives and Performance Measures:
Upward Bound (UB) provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. 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. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
Upward Bound projects provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, work-study programs, education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students; and programs and activities previously mentioned that are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of foster care system or other disconnected students
Performance Measures: The success of the UB Program is measured by the percentage of UB participants who enroll in and complete postsecondary education. The following performance measures have been developed to track progress toward achieving program success:

The percentage of UB students who take two years of mathematics beyond Algebra I by the 12th grade;

The percentage of UB students that enrolled in postsecondary education;

The percentage of UB students who enrolled in a program of postsecondary education by the fall term following graduation from high school who in the first year of postsecondary education placed into college-level math and English without need for remediation;

The percentage of UB students who enroll in a program of postsecondary education and graduate on time -- within four years for the bachelor’s degree and within two years for the associate’s degree;

The percentage of UB participants who enrolled in a program of postsecondary education and attain either an associate’s degree within three years or a bachelor’s degree within six years;

The percentage of UB students expected to graduate high school in the reporting year that complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and

The cost per successful participant.

Eligible Applicants:
Eligible applicants include:

Institutions of higher education

Public or private agency or organization, including a community-based organization with experience in serving disadvantaged youth

Secondary schools

Combinations of institutions, agencies, and organizations, and secondary schools
Funding and Matching Funds:
Awards will range from $250,000 to $1,000,000, with an average size of $330,000. Grants are for a period of up to five years. The maximum award for new grantees or existing grantees proposing to serve a new target area is $250,000 to serve at least 60 students. For an applicant currently receiving a UB Program grant and applying for a grant to serve the same target area or schools, the maximum award amount is determined based upon the applicant’s proposed per participant cost as specified in the application instructions.
Over $305 million has been allocated for new awards under this competition. The U.S. Department of Education expects to make a total of 982 awards under the regular Upward Bound program in this competition.
An applicant may submit more than one application for a UB grant as long as each application described a project that serves a different target area or target school.
No matching funds are required.
Eligible Participants
Students must meet all of the following requirements to participate in an Upward Bound Program:
They must be (1) a citizen or national of the United States, (2) a permanent resident of the United States, (3) in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and intending to become a permanent resident, (4) a permanent resident of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Island, or (5) a resident of the Freely Associated States—the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau.
They must be a potential first-generation college student; a low-income individual; or an individual who has a high risk for academic failure (with documentation of this status required).
Has a need for academic support in order to pursue successfully a program of education beyond high school.
At the time of initial selection, has completed the eighth grade and is at least 13 years old but not older than 19
All applicants for a Regular Upward Bound award must assure the Department of Education that:
Not less than two-thirds of the project's participants will be low-income individuals who are potential first-generation college students;
The remaining participants will be low-income individuals, potential first-generation college students, or individuals who have a high risk for academic failure;
No student will be denied participation in a project because the student would enter the project after the 9th grade; and
The project will collaborate with other Federal TRIO projects, GEAR UP projects, or programs serving similar populations that are serving the same target schools or target area in order to minimize the duplication of services and promote collaborations so that more students can be served.
Competitive Priorities:
Competitive Preference Priority 1: Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools (up to 5 additional points). Projects that are designed to address providing services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in the notice).

Competitive Preference Priority 2: Enabling More Data-Based Decision-Making (up to 5 additional points). Projects that are designed to collect (or obtain), analyze, and use high quality and timely data, including data on program participant outcomes, in accordance with privacy requirements, in providing reliable and comprehensive information on the implementation of Department of Education programs, and participant outcomes in these programs, by using data from State longitudinal data systems or by obtaining data from reliable third-party sources.
Competitive Preference Priority 3: Improving Productivity (up to 5 additional points). Projects that are designed to significantly increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources while improving student learning or other educational outcomes (i.e., outcome per unit of resource). Such projects may include innovative and sustainable uses of technology, modification of school schedules and teacher compensation systems, use of open educational resources, or other strategies.
Applicants must address the competitive preference priorities in a section of the application submission separate from the narrative. Applicants may receive up to an additional five points for each priority, up to a maximum of ten points. Applicants may include up to four additional pages for each priority addressed.
Project Design:
Required Services. All projects must provide the following:

Academic tutoring

Advice and assistance in secondary and postsecondary course selection

Preparation for college entrance exams

Information on federal student financial aid programs, including Federal Pell grant awards, loan forgiveness, and scholarships

Assistance completing financial aid applications;

Guidance on and Assistance in secondary school reentry, alternative education programs for secondary school dropouts that lead to the receipt of a regular secondary school diploma, and entry into postsecondary education

Education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students or the student’s parent, including financial planning for postsecondary education.

Any project that has received funds under this part for at least two years must include, as part of its core curriculum, instruction in Mathematics through Pre-Calculus, Laboratory Science, Foreign Language, Composition and Literature.
Permissible Services. Projects may also provide:

Exposure to cultural events and academic programs

Instruction designed

On-campus residential programs

Mentoring programs

Work study

Programs and activities designed for participants who are limited English proficient, traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, participants who are homeless children and youths, participants who are aging out of foster care, or other disconnected participants
Selection Criteria:
Need for the project (24 points). Information contained in the application must clearly demonstrates that (i) The income level of families in the target area is low; (ii) The education attainment level of adults in the target area is low; (iii) Target high school dropout rates are high;

(iv) College-going rates in target high schools are low; (v) Student/counselor ratios in the target high schools are high; and (vi) Unaddressed academic, social and economic conditions in the target area pose serious problems for low-income, potentially first-generation college students.

Objectives (9 points). The applicant's objectives and proposed targets (percentages) in the following areas should be both ambitious (as related to the need data provided) and attainable, given the project's plan of operation, budget, and other resources. Objectives and proposed targets should include:

(1 point) Academic performance (GPA);

(1 point) Academic performance (standardized test scores);

(2 points) Secondary school retention and graduation (with regular secondary school diploma);

(1 point) Completion of rigorous secondary school program of study;

(3 points) Postsecondary enrollment; and

(1 point) Postsecondary completion.
Plan of operation (30 points).

The plan to inform the faculty and staff at the applicant institution or agency and the interested individuals and organizations throughout the target area of the goals and objectives of the project;

The plan for identifying, recruiting, and selecting participants to be served by the project;

The plan for assessing individual participant needs and for monitoring the academic progress of participants while they are in Upward Bound;

The plan for locating the project within the applicant's organizational structure;

The curriculum, services and activities that are planned for participants in both the academic year and summer components;

The planned timelines for accomplishing critical elements of the project;

The plan to ensure effective and efficient administration of the project, including, but not limited to, financial management, student records management, and personnel management;

The applicant's plan to use its resources and personnel to achieve project objectives and to coordinate the Upward Bound project with other projects for disadvantaged students;

The plan to work cooperatively with parents and key administrative, teaching, and counseling personnel at the target schools to achieve project objectives; and

A follow-up plan for tracking graduates of Upward Bound as they enter and continue in postsecondary education.
Applicant and community support (16 points). The extent to which:
(1) The applicant is committed to supplementing the project with resources that enhance the project such as: space, furniture and equipment, supplies, and the time and effort of personnel other than those employed in the project.
(2) Resources secured through written commitments from community partners.
(i) An applicant that is an institution of higher education must include in its application commitments from the target schools and community organizations;
(ii) An applicant that is a secondary school must include in its commitments from institutions of higher education, community organizations, and, as appropriate, other secondary schools and the school district;
(iii) An applicant that is a community organization must include in its application commitments from the target schools and institutions of higher education.
Quality of personnel (8 points).
The qualifications required of the project director, including formal training or work experience in fields related to the objectives of the project and experience in designing, managing, or implementing similar projects;
The qualifications required of each of the other personnel to be used in the project, including formal training or work experience in fields related to the objectives of the project;
The quality of the applicant's plan for employing personnel who have succeeded in overcoming barriers similar to those confronting the project's target population.
Budget and cost effectiveness (5 points).
The budget for the project is adequate to support planned project services and activities; and
Costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives and scope of the project.
Evaluation plan (8 points). The extent to which the applicant's methods of evaluation:
Are appropriate to the project and include both quantitative and qualitative evaluation measures; and
Examine in specific and measurable ways the success of the project in making progress toward achieving its process and outcomes objectives.

The AVID System Can be a Strong Foundation for an Upward Bound Program

AVID is an extensive teacher and student support system that can be an important component of an effective early intervention program. AVID targets B, C and even D students in grades 4 through 12 who want to go to college but are not achieving at the level needed to reach that goal. AVID places these students in college preparatory classes (including honors and advanced placement classes), and then provides them a scaffold of social and academic structures to help them succeed. These structures include an AVID elective that helps motivate students as they develop career and educational goals and that teaches them study skills and college preparation; inquiry-driven problem solving to support achievement in rigorous academic classes; curriculum and inquiry-based teaching and learning methodologies that stress writing, reading and collaboration; and extensive professional development that prepares teachers and school leaders to implement the program. AVID helps students understand why they need to be in school (by learning about career options), what they need to learn to achieve their goals, and how to study and learn. Most importantly, AVID helps at-risk students develop a vision of their future that includes success in college, careers and in life.
AVID Supports Rigorous Academic Coursework. AVID places students in college preparatory classes (including honors and advanced placement classes), and then provides them a scaffold of social and academic structures to help them succeed. AVID students become more engaged in school as they progress through the program. They develop an understanding of their postsecondary options, explore careers and set goals, and learn what it takes to achieve those goals. They learn about colleges, the college entrance process, costs and financial aid. AVID students develop the academic skills they need to complete high school and success in college.
The key components of the AVID program improve academic performance by providing academic support and enrichment. These components include:

  • The AVID Elective. Each participating high school student enrolls in an AVID elective course, which is a part of the student’s regular schedule. The course meets daily (or less often for longer periods if the school is on an alternative schedule). Two of the five class periods per week focus on academic training and college entry skills. On these days, students learn study skills, notetaking, time management, critical reading, library research, test preparation, essay writing, test-taking strategies and how to write college entrance essays and prepare for entrance exams. One of the five class periods each week focuses on career exploration, understanding the academic preparation required for career choices, and researching colleges. The final two class periods per week are spent in AVID tutorials, collaborative inquiry groups conducted by college and peer tutors trained in inquiry-based collaborative coaching techniques. Students participate in these tutorial groups to both support their success in their college preparation courses and to help develop the social support that comes from intense studying with classmates.

  • AVID Teaching Methodology. “AVID Methodology” is not about changing curriculum – it is about providing most students access to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, and providing professional development teachers who learn proven strategies to better serve the learning needs of all students. The teaching methodologies most effective in this quest include Writing as a Tool for Learning; an Emphasis on Inquiry; a Collaborative Approach; and Reading to Learn (WICR).

  • AVID Curriculum. To provide teachers with the tools needed to support students in their academic achievement, the AVID program provides rigorous, sequential curriculum materials and extensive professional development to teams of teachers from participating schools. AVID provides “Write Path” curriculum materials and professional development in English Language Arts, Mathematics, History/Social Science, and science. Curriculum materials are available for Advanced Placement courses in all of these content areas. AVID also provides curriculum designed to support the teaching of critical reading and writing strategies to English Language Learners. The AVID Tutorial Support Curriculum Resource Guide helps teachers enhance the skills of tutors by modeling and practicing effective group strategies, higher-order questioning techniques, writing review and collaborative problem solving.

    • AVID Professional Development for School Site Teams. Each participating school forms an interdisciplinary team of content-area teachers, counselors and administrators to lead the implementation of the AVID program. The team sets quantifiable goals for school improvement based on site data. Intensive professional development is provided to members of the school team to prepare them to implement and expand the AVID program. AVID professional development activities include the AVID Summer Institute, a weeklong intensive training event attended by the entire site team; school site-based training sessions that focus on using the AVID Path series curriculum in content area courses; web-based seminars and online training courses on AVID principles and implementation; monthly site team meetings to reinforce the AVID training and develop the team’s leadership; and ongoing and sustained monitoring and coaching for the school site.

AVID offers articulated programs for middle school and high school students. AVID offers curriculum for both middle school and high school programs. Curriculum and materials for summer bridge programs also are available.
AVID has a strong track record of success. AVID has supported student achievement for over 30 years. The AVID program has been adopted by over 4,800 schools in 48 states and 16 countries and U.S. Territories. AVID Center provides staff development for over 25,000 educators each year and serves more than 425,000 students annually.
AVID has proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase the likelihood that a young person who comes from a low-income family will graduate from high school and go on to enroll in postsecondary education with no need for remediation. Most AVID students are underrepresented minorities – about 50% are Hispanic (only 20% of all school-age children nationally are Hispanic), and 19% are African-American (compared to the national average of 15.3% of school-age children).i Many of these students do not have a college-going tradition in their families.
AVID significantly closes the achievement gaps between groups of students. About 90% of AVID students complete course requirements for admission to a four-year college or university, compared to 36% nationally, and 34% in California. The proportions of AVID students who completed these course loads were nearly consistent for each sub-group of students (see table below), with a gap of only 4 percentage points from the highest performing to the lowest. That gap nationally is 25 percentage points, and in California it is 36 points.

Percentage of Students Completing Four-Year College Admission Requirements


California Overall

U.S. Overall

Native American








African American
















Underrepresented students participating in AVID are much more likely to take Advanced Placement (AP) tests; while only 6% of African American students across the U.S. take AP tests, 16% of African American AVID students do so; while 12% of the nation’s Hispanic students take AP tests, 52% of Hispanic AVID students take them. AVID also increases student achievement through high school graduation. A project tracking AVID students in Texas found that 98% of the students who had completed three or more years of AVID graduated from high school with a recommended or distinguished diploma; only 81% of the students not in AVID graduated from high school with more than the minimum level diploma. Students with 3 or more years of AVID were more likely to enroll in higher education the fall after graduating high school (65% vs. 53% for students without AVID) and return for a second year of college (54% for AVID students, 46% for other students).ii

The academic success of AVID students helps close the achievement gap in other ways as well:iii

  • AVID opens access to Advanced Placement courses for minority students. The proportion of Hispanic students taking AP exams is almost five times higher among AVID students (at 57%) than among U.S. students overall (12%).

  • AVID students are more likely to graduate from high school. In California, for example, 99.5% of high school seniors in AVID graduate from high school, compared to only 82.4% of all high school seniors statewide. In Texas, over 95% of high school seniors in AVID graduate, compared to 89.9% of all high school seniors statewide.

Minority students who participate in AVID are much more likely to enroll in a four-year college. Over half (55%) of the AVID African-American students who participated in AVID for three years enrolled in four-year colleges, compared to a national average of 33%, and 43% of the Latino students who participated in AVID enrolled in four-year colleges, compared to the national average of 29%.

  • AVID students are more likely to persist in their college studies. Once they enter college, most AVID students (80%) stay continuously enrolled, despite having to work as well as attend school. Their persistence is much higher than average for low-income and underrepresented college students in community colleges and universities nationwide – over 50% of public community college students drop out before completing a degree, and about 40% of public university students never complete their degrees. iv

AVID creates a college-going culture in the participating schools. Although AVID was originally developed to meet the needs of underachieving ethnic and linguistic minority and low-income students, its implementation at a site often results in the complete transformation of the academic, college-going culture of the school. As AVID grows and becomes embedded in the school, teacher belief systems change. This supports whole school change. Students from all backgrounds begin attaining higher levels of achievement. AVID helps reform schools because it confronts a fundamental systemic issue: the de facto tracking that tends to keep low income and minority students out of college preparatory programs and which results in lower levels of academic achievement. AVID offers an effective way to address these challenges:

  1. AVID accelerates under-achieving students into more rigorous courses, instead of consigning them to remedial programs that do not fulfill the prerequisites for college.

  1. AVID incorporates the intensive support students need to succeed in rigorous courses. At the elementary level, it is an embedded sequential academic skills program intended for non-elective, multi-subject, self-contained classrooms, and starts the college-going culture early in the students’ academic life. At the middle and high school level, additional support is formally structured into the academic AVID elective and is intensive – AVID classes meet every day and students apply AVID study methods in every class. Support also is continuous: AVID students are required to participate for at least three years in high school, and the ideal is to remain in the AVID program from the upper elementary grades through high school.

  1. AVID addresses instructional methods as well as access. AVID classes incorporate a collegial approach and Socratic methods that specifically target the needs of underachieving students. AVID also incorporates practices such as inquiry-based, collaborative study groups that help students become independent learners. All AVID strategies are based on research on best practices and the influences of peer groups in student achievement.

  1. AVID trains content area teachers in instructional methodologies that meet the learning needs of a broad range of students in rigorous content classes. AVID provides ongoing teacher coaching and follow-up to embed the training in teachers’ classroom practices.

  1. AVID works to influence the college-ready culture of the entire school. AVID incorporates and gives life to an explicit belief system: that low income and minority students can achieve at high levels and succeed in college. This philosophical underpinning and the success of AVID help to change the expectations that teachers and students throughout a school have of disadvantaged and minority students. AVID makes the success of under-achieving students a schoolwide issue and leads to significant changes in course assignment policies, instructional methods, and school culture that contribute to their success.

  1. AVID is a schoolwide initiative, not a school within a school. AVID addresses many aspects of the education system. The role of teacher is redefined from lecturer to advocate and guide. The role of counselor changes from gatekeeper to facilitator. The school-based peer group for AVID students becomes one that values achievement. AVID provides the academic training necessary for success in rigorous curriculum.

  1. AVID incorporates something badly needed by schools and teachers engaged in the daunting task of reform: strong collegial support. Each AVID site team is based on the notion that the success of students is a shared responsibility. As staff work together throughout the year as well as at Summer Institutes and regional events, they encourage and inspire one another. National and regional AVID centers facilitate this network by sharing information about successful practices and sponsoring training.

  1. AVID promotes continuous improvement in schools. The AVID Certification program documents and recognizes schools that have fully and successfully implemented the AVID model, and serves as a continuous improvement process. The AVID Certification process includes a school site self-study followed by a site visit. Schools incorporate the findings of their self-study and certification site visit in their ongoing site development plan.

Most jobs in the U.S. that offer earnings above a living wage require good English language and math skills and at least one year of postsecondary education. AVID provides preparation for any type of postsecondary education that requires strong academic foundations – a four-year college, a two-year college, or a shorter certificate or training program – without the need for academic remediation.

Once implemented, AVID can be sustained without significant ongoing expenditures. AVID Center’s structures and services are designed to support the sustainability of your district’s broader and deeper implementation of the program:

  • AVID Center provides a comprehensive training and support structure to prepare a district staff member to coordinate the AVID program.

  • AVID can be implemented by a school’s current staff members. AVID Center will train a school’s existing FTE teachers to implement the AVID instructional model and scaffold of supports.

  • AVID Center has the capacity to ramp up training quickly. With more than 500 experienced trainers, AVID Center is ready to conduct AVID Path training at your district sites.

  • AVID Center launches training through Summer Institutes across the nation. AVID Summer Institutes provide valuable collaboration time for district and school site teachers and staff.

  • AVID Center can support your district with comprehensive strategies to support students who are English Language Learners and African American male students in AVID.

AVID Center Contact Information

California Division
Robin Kisinger, California Director

9246 Lightwave Avenue, Suite 200

San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 380-4800
Fax: (858) 268-2265
Central Division
Rosemary Ellis, Central Division Director

8303 N. Mopac Expressway, Suite C250

Austin, TX 78759
Phone: (512) 669-5900
Fax: (512) 255-7366
Eastern Division
Ann Hart, Eastern Division Director

3 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 118

Atlanta, GA 30329
Phone: (404) 963-9300
Fax: (404) 963-9296
Western Division
Karen Lewis, Western Division Director

5889 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 210

Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: (303) 436-2200
Fax: (303) 741-0135
AVID Center Headquarters
Granger Ward, Executive Vice President

9246 Lightwave Avenue, Suite 200

San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 380-4781
Fax: (858) 268-2265


i U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, October Supplement.

ii Stoever, C. (2010). Tracking Secondary AVID Students into Higher Education. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Presentation at AVID Postsecondary Informational Meeting, March 2, 2010.

iii AVID Center Data Collection System (2008). for AVID data California Department of Education (2008) for statewide data.

CREATE (2000). Longitudinal Research on AVID 1999-2000. Burlingame, CA.

CREATE (2002). The Magnificent Eight: AVID Best Practices Study. Burlingame, CA.

Mehan, H. et. al, (1996). Constructing School Success: The Consequences of Untracking Low Achieving Students. New York: Cambridge University Press.

iv U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1996/01 Beginning Postsecondary Longitudinal Study (BPS: 96/01).

AVID Center, Upward Bound Program Overview Page

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