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UH Hilo receiving nearly $6M for college prep program


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded four grants to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hiloʻs Upward Bound program over the next five years.

More than $1.4 million will go to several intermediate and high schools across Hawaiʻi Island through the program. Schools include Pahoa High and Intermediate, Hilo High, Waiakea High, Keaʻau, and Honokaʻa High and Intermediate.

UH Hiloʻs Upward Bound program started in 1979 to assist low-income and first-generation college students develop the skills necessary to obtain a bachelor's degree. It originally started with two programs, but has grown.

"We currently have five programs at UH Hilo that serve a total of 270 students per year," said Shayna Fuerte, interim director of the Upward Bound program. "Throughout the academic year, our students receive instruction and encouragement to develop their academic and personal skills. And they also receive help developing their college and career plans."

Fuerte says the funding will go toward instruction and services such as tutoring, SAT, ACT, and PSAT test preparation, financial aid scholarship and college applications, college tours, and educational enrichment trips.

While the program's goals and objectives focus on aspects that can be measured, Fuerte tells HPR the program also focuses on the student experience.

"We had a student who attended college in Florida, and we followed up and asked how was the transition. And they said it wasn't too bad, because [they] made those small transitions when [they were] on campus . . . [They] needed to learn those independent living skills, and how to make new relationships and manage [their] time and coursework."

More information can be found at hilo.hawaii.edu/upwardbound.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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