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TRIO Upward Bound

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Program Overview

Originally funded in 1966, the Virginia Union University Upward Bound Program is a 100 percent federally funded grant program sponsored through the U.S. Department of Education with funding to serve 85 students from the Richmond Public School System to provide fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance.  The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.  Upward Bound serves high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree and high school students from low-income families. The goals of Upward Bound are to; prepare underrepresented high school students for successful application and entry into postsecondary education and to increase the number of low-income and first generation students earning a college degree.

The Upward Bound Program has two phases – the Academic Year Saturday Academy and the Summer Residential Institute.  During the Academic Academy, students spend two (2) Saturdays a month on campus between September and May.  For the duration of the Summer Institute, students spend five (5) or six (6) weeks as mock college students on the campus.  The Upward Bound Bridge Program is an extension of regular Upward Bound services.  The program is an instrument to ease the transition from high school to college. Taking place at the same time as the regular Upward Bound Summer Residential Institute, the Summer Bridge Program is offered to Upward Bound graduating seniors who are enrolled in college for the fall semester of their graduating year.

Throughout both phases students are involved in academic classes, on-campus tutoring, group and individual counseling sessions, organized recreation, and a variety of cultural experiences.  Additionally, program staff regularly visits the eight target high schools to work with administrators, guidance staff and teachers in meeting the needs of participants.  Campus visits/college tours, field trips, recreational and cultural activities are all integral parts of the Upward Bound Program. These activities are scheduled to provide students with new experiences, exposure to a variety of college campuses, cultural awareness and enrichment.

Eligibility Requirements


  • Enrolled in a Richmond Public High School
  • Rising 9th, 10th or 11th grader
  • Interest in attending a college or University after high school
  • Neither parent nor legal guardian has graduated from a four year college or university
  • Must meet income and academic requirements

Participating Schools

High Schools

  • Armstrong High School
  • John Marshall High School 
  • George Wythe High School
  • Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Franklin Military Academy
  • Huguenot High School
  • Open High
  • Richmond Community

Why Upward Bound?

Academic Advising

All participants are provided academic, career, and college admission advising including transcript evaluation, academic and extracurricular activity advising, and social/personal/academic assistance. Guidance and assistance is provided on secondary school reentry, alternative education programs, and entry into general educational development programs or postsecondary education.

Saturday Sessions and Tutoring

Upward Bound offers students monthly Saturday classes and weekly individualized tutoring in core subjects from September to May.  Saturday Sessions and tutoring are offered on the campus of VUU, and are organized based on grade level and individual academic needs. 

College Tours and Cultural Exposure

College tours and a variety of other activities are also offered to connect students to valuable cultural, educational and career-focused events. Students go on an average of two college tours a year. Some regular destinations include Broadway plays in New York City. theme parks, and historical museums

Parental Programs

Upward Bound encourages parents to get involved with their children's education. We offer an orientation session for parents of new Upward Bound participants, and parents of continuing UB students receive information on college and financial aid options. Parental meetings are scheduled weekly to assist parents with ensuring the secondary success of program scholars.

Workshops include, but are not limited to:

  • Career building
  • Goal setting
  • Test taking
  • Writing improvement
  • Budget development
  • Branding
  • Time management

Summer Residential Institute

Scholars live in campus residence halls and are immersed in a concentrated, challenging and supportive learning environment.

Summer Bridge Residential Institute

After high school graduation, scholars are invited to attend the Summer Bridge Component which provides participants with services and activities including college courses that aid in the transition from secondary education to post-secondary education.

Financial Help

Earn a stipend each week during the Fall Saturday Academy and Summer Residential Institute. Program participants qualify to receive fee waivers for college applications and college preparatory exams (SAT I /SAT II and ACT).

Financial Literacy Institute

Delivering compelling, relevant content the UB Financial Literacy Institute engages scholars in the learning process, and inspires them to take positive financial action. The curriculum is designed to foster positive financial habits and relationships with money that will serve participants throughout their lifetimes. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Account Management
  • Budgeting
  • Credit Profile
  • Economic & Government Influences
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Psychology
  • Investments & Personal Finance Planning
  • Jobs & Careers
  • Loans & Debt


Jay-Z's Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship

The Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship provides financial support to high school students as well as undergraduate students entering college for the first time. The purpose of the scholarship is to help under-served students who may not be eligible for other scholarships.

Jesse Jackson's PUSH Excel Scholarship Program

Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Fellows Scholarships are awarded to high school students with a grade point average of 3.0 or above. Applications will be judged on academic performance and a 500 word essay describing obstacles they have overcome in order to pursue their education goals. The Cirilo McSween Scholarship is awarded to students who are majoring in business. They must be currently enrolled in college and have a grade point average of 3.0 or above.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) provides scholarships that enable students to attend one of the nation's public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The scholarship is based on financial need.

The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) Scholarship

The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) Scholarship is open to African-American undergraduate students who enroll in scientific or technical fields of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The scholarship can be renewed annually for up to four years.

Ron Brown Scholars Program

The Ron Brown Scholar Program also provides Scholars with the financial resources to attend some of the finest colleges and universities in the country. Upon acceptance, Scholars are each awarded $40,000 ($10,000 per year for 4 years toward educational expenses), that may be used at the college or university of their choice. Acceptance into the Program means Scholars are also provided with the nurturing and mentorship to succeed and flourish in college and beyond.

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation exists to bring better to the world through investment in exceptional high school students who are dedicated to leadership, service, and action that positively affects others.

Tom Joyner Foundation "Full Ride" Scholarship

The Tom Joyner Foundation "Full Ride" Scholarship awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with high academic records

United Negro College Fund

UNCF manages various scholarship programs and each program has its own eligibility criteria, open/close dates and required documentation. To apply for a UNCF scholarship, you must apply through the on-line application process

NBNA Scholarship Program For Black Nurses

The NBNA Scholarship Program offers 14 scholarships each year to students pursuing a career in nursing who are members of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc. The scholarships are based on merit and financial need.

The Cameron Impact Scholarship

The Cameron Impact Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition, merit-based undergraduate scholarship awarded to exceptional high school students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service.

Additional scholarship information is available in our office.

Contact Us

Virginia Union University 
Baptist Memorial Building, 2nd Floor
1500 North Lombardy Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (804) 257-5899 

Facebook: VUU Upward Bound  
Twitter: @VUU_UBP
Instagram: VUU_UpwardBound