About 70 students from area high schools are getting the experience of attending college by participating in a six-week Upward Bound Summer Academy at College of the Mainland – the 11th year the college has hosted students as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

The students from Dickinson, Hitchcock, La Marque and Texas City high schools are receiving academic instruction from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in math, science, English and two electives like robotics. The program is aimed at helping students develop the skills and motivation necessary for them to successfully complete high school and to enter and succeed in college.

“These are all great kids who just need that extra incentive and encouragement to continue on the right path to graduate from high school and enter college,” said Ciro Reyes, director of the TRIO program at College of the Mainland. “I am glad that COM is able to show them the ropes early on so they gain confidence in themselves.”

The Upward Bound program began as one of three education programs, thus the name TRIO, directed at students who have a need for academic support to help propel them into a postsecondary education. All students must either be from low-income families or be potential first-generation college students. The program requires that two-thirds of the participants in a project must be both low-income and potential first-generation students. The remaining one-third must be either low-income, first-generation college students, or students who have a high risk for academic failure.

The TRIO Upward Bound program at College of the Mainland comprised of:

The Saturday Academy
Summer Academy 
Year Round Academic Advising/Tutoring
Educational/Cultural Trips
Volunteer Activities
College Entrance Exam Prep
Financial Aid Application Assistance
College Application Assistance

The summer Upward Bound classes for the students ranging from rising freshmen to rising seniors are enhancement classes and no credit is given to the student for either high school or college. These enhancement classes are intended to prepare students for their upcoming school year.

College of the Mainland first received an Upward Bound grant in 2007 and has since been renewed three times. The grant comes with an annual funding of $270,208.