STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - A University of Wisconsin Stevens Point program that prepares high school students for college success narrowly escaped closing.
Office of Diversity and College Access Director Ron Strege says he Upward Bound program helps U-W staff assist at-risk students and students whose parents did not go to college deal with the challenges of biology, math, language, and communications. “Every summer there's a program held on our campus at UW Stevens Point. It's a six-week summer program where they come in and get intensive academic prep to get them ready for the next year in high school and also for college so they go into college prepared and can be successful.” The courses are taught at college level.
Upward Bound has been a part of UWSP for forty-five years, but their five-year grant application was denied, jeopardizing the future of the program. Technically, the last grant ran out in May, but Stege says they were fortunate to have local support to carry out the summer program. Stege says, “You know, there's always a chance you weren't going to get funded, so we had anticipated kind of a plan “B” because there were kids and people teaching and parents counting on this over the summer.” Local support allowed for an abbreviated summer program. Stege says without the surprise phone call awarding the grant, “We were prepared to shut the doors September 1st and not re-open again.”
Director Stege says the University is very grateful to Congressmen Ron Kind and Sean Duffy and Senator Herb Kohl for investigating why the original grant was denied due to scoring errors. He says without their efforts, Upward Bound would not have survived.
The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point presently serves over ninety-three students in eight high schools with Upward Bound, including Stevens Point, Wausau, Auburndale, and Lakeland.