Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus has been awarded five Upward Bound program grants for $7.5 million, approximately $297,000.00 each for five 5 years, by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Utica Campus is a designated HBCU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The programs will provide college access to students in the targeted high schools identified in Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Rankin and Warren counties. The five programs will serve more than 300 student participants in the surrounding communities and their parents with a primary goal of increasing students’ enrollment, retention and graduation rates. Across the country, especially in rural areas, student enrollment has declined for various reasons, including the impact of COVID-19 and high unemployment.
“These awards come at a pivotal time and provide much-needed services that boost confidence and offer students the academic tools to succeed,” said Dr. Sharlene Brown, Executive Director of Title III/Sponsored Grants.
Some of the services that will be provided to students include academic tutoring; advice and assistance in postsecondary course selection; information on financial aid programs and benefits and assistance in completing financial aid applications, including the FAFSA; education or counseling services designed to improve financial and economic literacy; and activities designed to assist participants in enrolling in two and four-year institutions, obtain financial assistance for college or entrance into immediate employment in the field of their choice, she said.
Two-thirds of the participants will be low-income individuals who are potential first-generation college students. At the same time, the remaining participants will also include individuals with a high risk of academic failure. No student will be denied participation in the project because the student will enter the project after the 9th grade.
The projects will collaborate with other Hinds Community College Federal TRIO projects (Talent Search, Student Support Services, Upward Bound Math and Science) and other programs (Math and Science focus, tutoring, robotics, etc.) designed to prepare students for college or immediate workforce employment careers.
“In the past, Hinds has successfully hired directors, academic champions and staff who have experienced and understand the struggles of first-generation college-bound students and have proved to be excellent mentors to our participating students,” Brown said. “Hinds will continue that legacy of hiring individuals that contribute to a cultural community commensurate with the college’s mission.”