A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94

Chapter 508

Upward Bound

(CFDA No. 84.047)

I. Program Profile

Legislation: Higher Education Act (HEA) of l965, as amended, Title IV, Part A (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11 and 1070a-13) (expires September 30, 1997).

Purpose: To generate among low-income youths and potential first-generation college students enrolled in high school the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school. The goal of the program is to increase the academic performance and motivation of eligible participants so that they may complete secondary school and successfully pursue postsecondary educational programs.

Funding History

Fiscal Year Appropriation l/ Fiscal Year Appropriation 1/
1967 $28,000,000 1986 $ 72,338,636
1970 29,600,000 1987 74,548,185
1975 38,331,000 1988 80,413,638
1980 62,500,000 1989 93,584,398
1981 66,501,000 1990 100,781,325
1982 63,720,000 1991 131,643,731
1983 68,366,514 1992 158,759,000
1984 70,754,376 1993 157,589,899
1985 73,614,193 1994 162,500,000

1/ The allocations represent the amount allocated administratively by the Department from funds appropriate jointly for all six Federal TRIO programs: Upward Bound, Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Centers, Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement program, and the Training Program for Special Programs Staff and Leadership Personnel.

II. Program Information and Analysis

Performance Indicators

One performance measure is the effect of Upward Bound on participants' academic preparation for college. Evidence from the High School and Beyond (HS&B) survey shows positive effects of Upward Bound participation on reading achievement and educational expectations, but no effects on math achievement (Table 1).

Table 1

Results From HS&B: Program Effects

SELECTION RULES Reading1 Math (less demanding test) Math (more2 demanding test) Educational3 Expectations
Random Selection 2.92* 2.77 -.30 2.76*
Normal Selection 1.79 2.23 -2.73* 3.57*

*Statistically significant at .05 level.

1Refers to the number of correct answers on a scale of 1-20. For example, if randomly selected into Upward Bound or a control group, UB participants scored almost 3 points higher on a scale of 1-20.

2Refers to number of correct math answers on a scale of 1-10.

3Refers to years of education expected to attain.

Another program performance measure is the percentage of Upward Bound seniors who enter college. Although projects report this information to ED annually, it has not been aggregated.

Population Targeting

To participate in Upward Bound (UB), students must be between the ages of 13 and 19 (except for veterans), have completed 8-years of elementary education, need academic support to successfully pursue a program of education beyond high school, be planning to go to college, and need the services in order to fulfill their goals. Participants are selected based upon recommendations from their counselors, teachers, and social agencies. Two-thirds of the project participants must be low-income persons (defined as less than 150 percent of poverty level) who are also potential first-generation college students. The remaining one-third must be either low-income or potential first-generation college students.

There are approximately 530 Upward Bound grantees serving over 40,000 students. Grants are usually for four years. However, applicants whose grant proposals are scored in the top 10 percent of a competition are awarded 5-year grants. In FY 1992, the Department also awarded additional funds to 75 Upward Bound regional centers to establish summer residential programs emphasizing math and science learning. These grants will be continued through 1994.


FY 1993 Awards Regular Math/Science Summer Program
Number of projects 534 75
Average award $267,540 $195,782
Number of persons served 41,835 3,542
Average Federal cost per participant $3,416 $4,146

Students are recruited for participation in Upward Bound through their high schools, known as "target schools." These target schools are listed in the application; there are approximately 3,300 such schools served by UB projects throughout the country. Students in UB programs generally participate in an intensive 6-week summer residential or non-residential program held on a college campus. They continue to receive academic and support services during the school year, typically on weekends or after school.

All Upward Bound project must provide instruction in the following areas:

In addition, the following services are typically provided in the academic year and summer components of the project:

Program Administration

Programs may be sponsored by institutions of higher education, public and private nonprofit agencies, or combinations of such entities. In exceptional cases, secondary schools may sponsor a project or be part of a combination of entities sponsoring a project. Grants are generally four years in length, with the best proposals receiving 5-year grants.

Prior experience points are earned by grantees that have conducted an Upward Bound project during the three years prior to the year in which a new application is submitted. Up to 15 points can be awarded based on the applicant's prior program performance as an Upward Bound grantee. The goal is to promote continuity in the delivery of services.


ED recently began an evaluation of Upward Bound that involves a randomly chosen sample of eligible program participants and a control group. This study involves a representative sample of 70 Upward Bound projects. Initial findings on program impact will be available in March 1995.

Upward Bound has been evaluated several times in the past. The most comprehensive evaluation of the program was undertaken by Research Triangle Institute between 1973 and 1979 (III.2). This study followed a sample of approximately 3,700 Upward Bound participants from 54 sampled projects and 2,300 non-participating matched comparison group students. Two follow-up surveys were conducted. The chief findings from this study were that:

An analysis (III.3) of students in the High School and Beyond Senior survey found similar effects of program participation. Upward Bound participants were more likely to enter college and earned more credits than non-participants, but within 18 months after high school graduation, differences in postsecondary persistence were no longer significant.

A more recent examination (III.4) of data in the High School and Beyond surveys (sophomores and seniors) included an analysis of high school and postsecondary transcripts. The study found that when students are matched on the basis of type of high school attended, race/ethnicity, and family socioeconomic status:

Management Improvement Strategies

The Department has recently begun to develop a revised set of regulations that will incorporate recent legislative changes. The new regulations will also improve the reliability of selection criteria, and prior experience point allocation criteria used by the Department. The regulations will improve project accountability and help the Department develop a better working relationship with the Upward Bound grantees.

III. Sources of Information

  1. Program files.

  2. Graham Burkheimer, John Riccobono, Joseph Wisenbaker, Final Report: Evaluation Study of the Upward Bound Program--A Second Follow-up, (Research Triangle Park, NC: Research Triangle Institute, 1979).

  3. Steven M. Jung and Applied Systems Institute, Reanalysis of High School and Beyond Data to Estimate the Impact of Upward Bound (Washington, DC: Applied Systems Institute, 1984).

  4. David Myers, "The Effects of Upward Bound and Supplemental Service Programs: Findings From Extant Data" (Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc., 1991).

IV. Planned Studies

The Department of Education has begun a major evaluation of Upward Bound. The first phase of the evaluation will assess the impact on participants during high school. The evaluation will use a random assignment experimental design.

V. Contacts for Further Information

Program Operations:
Prince Teal, (202) 708-4804

Program Studies:
David Goodwin, (202) 401-0182

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