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About Us


Upward Bound, a TRIO Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education, was established in 1989 at Northern Kentucky University. It's a challenging, preparatory program for students who demonstrate the ability or desire to attend college.

To be eligible for the program, students must either meet federal income requirements and/or be the children of parents without baccalaureate college degrees. All program services are free. Entering students are enrolled in the 9th or 10th grade at specific target high schools located in the northern Kentucky region.

The purpose of our program

In 1965, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income and/or first generation college bound students prepare for entering and graduating from college. Initially, there were only 3 programs: Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services, and Upward Bound; the TRIO label remains although there are now 5 more programs.

These programs are offered in over 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies and are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 700,000 Americans. TRIO Programs help students overcome the invisible barriers -- class, social, academic, and cultural -- which may prevent them from attempting to complete a higher education.

Federal programs like TRIO "level the playing field" by providing promising students the opportunity to graduate from college.

Academic support for high school students

Northern Kentucky University established Upward Bound to provide fundamental academic support to 75 students in grades 9-12 as they prepare for college entrance. Our goal is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and then enroll in and graduate from institutions of post-secondary education.

Students who demonstrate the ability or desire to attend college enter Upward Bound in the 9th or 10th grade. All services in the challenging preparatory program are free for participants.

Upward Bound provides instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature and foreign language. Other services include:

  • Instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and other subjects necessary for success in education beyond high school
  • Academic, financial, or personal counseling
  • Exposure to academic programs and cultural events
  • Tutorial services
  • Mentoring programs
  • Information on postsecondary education opportunities
  • Assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications
  • Assistance in preparing for college entrance exams

Upward Bound students

Our students are enrolled at specific, target high schools located in Northern Kentucky. The program was created to serve:

  • Students whose parents/guardians do not possess a Bachelor's degree;
  • Students who may qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch.

100% of our students are high school graduates.


Did you know?

Over 90% of our graduates maintain a 2.75+ GPA during their Bridge semester.


  • The Upward Bound Experience

    Learn more about some of the unique experiences available to Upward Bound students, including highlights from previous years.

  • Meet the Staff

    Meet the staff who work for Upward Bound at NKU.