APU Secures $1.3 Million Upward Bound Grant

by University Relations

TRiO, an extension of Azusa Pacific’s Undergraduate Academic Success Center, secured a five-year, $1.3 million Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help first-generation and low-income Azusa High School students excel in their higher education pursuits. This grant enables APU to deepen its partnership with the Azusa Unified School District, which includes the recent launch of a college pathway program for students in this district and nearly a dozen others.

Building upon that foundation, Azusa Pacific identified the 60 inaugural Azusa High students for participation in the Upward Bound program this fall, and these students will receive the necessary resources to ensure their grade-level competency and ability to pass state-mandated exams. The program also includes academic instruction, counseling, mentoring, work-study programs, field trips, parent workshops, and financial literacy classes designed for students traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education. Each year, 60 Azusa High School students will follow their lead in pursuit of opportunities inherent in quality higher education.

LaTesha Hagler, Ed.D., senior director of TRiO Programs and a first-generation college graduate, understands the unique struggles and capabilities of the youth Upward Bound serves. In her role, she encourages and inspires other first-generation students to become familiar and comfortable with the academic environment and to thrive in college. Under her leadership, in fall 2015 APU received $1.1 million from the Department of Education to fund and start the university’s first TRiO Student Support Services program, a collection of seven federally funded programs that provide higher education access and support to those for whom access has not traditionally existed. TRiO Student Support Services and the team in APU’s Undergraduate Academic Success Center foster academic development, help students develop persistence, and motivate them toward the successful completion of their degrees.

Originally published in the Fall '17 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.