TRIO Upward Bound

TRIO Upward Bound is a federally funded program that aims to increase college enrollment and graduation rates for high school students from low-income households, from homes where neither parent has earned a 4-year Bachelor's degree, or for students at a high academic risk of failure. The program is funded by the United States Department of Education (Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965). Learn more about the federal TRIO programs.

Our Mission

Our goal is to increase the rate at which traditionally underrepresented students enroll in and graduate from college. We provide academic support, emotional encouragement and assistance with the college application and financial aid process as a means of overcoming social barriers to higher education. We seek to broaden our students’ horizons by providing academic enrichment, college visits and cultural activities. It is our hope that the Upward Bound experience will contribute to our students successfully graduating from college and leading fulfilling lives.


  • Academic support and mentoring throughout high school
  • Cultural enrichment activities
  • College prep workshops and activities
  • College visits
  • Test prep 
  • College application, financial aid application, and scholarship instruction
  • SEPTA passes to and from program
  • Free breakfast and lunch
  • Rewards for honor roll and perfect attendance
  • A supportive community of peers who also want to go to college 

Academic Year Program: The academic year begins in October and ends in April. Participants attend the program at the main campus of the Community College of Philadelphia, two Saturdays per month.  Saturday sessions focus on college prep workshops, activities and events. Additionally, the program provides tutoring after school during the week. For seniors in the program, the emphasis is on applying to college and applying for financial aid. For juniors in the program, the emphasis is on preparing for the SAT. Participants receive a $40.00 per month stipend by meeting attendance criteria. 

Summer Program: During the eight-week summer program (late June through early August), students will receive academic instruction in math, science, English, and a foreign language. Participants will also go on weekly cultural trips and college visits. In the final week of the program, Upward Bound participants will take a multi-day long trip to a destination outside of Philadelphia. A $60.00 per month stipend is provided for participation in the summer program.

How to Apply

In order to apply, students must be entering 9th or 10th grade at one of the following high schools: Benjamin Franklin, Building 21, Furness, or South Philadelphia. Students must either be the first person in their family to go to college and/or must qualify as low income by the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines.

Students must complete an application and an interview in order to qualify for the program. A complete application includes personal identification information, a copy of the student’s high school transcript and income verification information. Once enrolled, students are expected to remain in the program until high school graduation.


New Student Application 


Aimie Contarino, Director