Without the promise of a four-year scholarship, post-secodary education might be a distant dream for many students.

The Upward Program at St. Mary’s University is making some of those dreams a reality by offering college-rich experiences to inner-city school youth in San Antonio. The program serves about 80 – 120 students each year from Brackenridge, Fox Tech, Lanier, Sam Houston, Jefferson, Judson and Wagner high schools. St. Mary’s University has hosted the Upward Bound program since 1967.

Academic Year Sessions
Selected students and their parents or guardians must make a commitment to ensure that participants make academic progress. The academic session runs from October to May. Each Saturday, students participate in college-preparatory activities at the St. Mary’s campus. Students have an opportunity to study core academic areas in literature, composition, a laboratory science, mathematics, and foreign language. Additionally, program participants have access to elective courses in college planning, financial aid, study skills, leadership, music, art and more.

Summer Sessions
The preparatory experiences continue in the summer with a six-week college program. Aside from the academic enrichment opportunities, students share in the residential living experience. Upon completion of the bridge program, students may enroll in the college of their choice beginning the fall semester following their high school graduation.


Stephanie Gonzalez, Upward Bound graduate & St. Mary's Freshmen

If you look closely, you’ll find hundreds of program participants who have excelled in college because of the prep program and thus have surpassed achievements in their professional careers. One program participant hoping to make her mark is Stephanie Gonzlaez, a 2011 graduate of Edison High School and St. Mary’s University freshmen. Gonzalez was so impressed by her experience in the program that she now works as an English tutor for Upward Bound. The first-generation college student connects with the new class  of high school participants because she was one of them and sees the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

The pre-med major shared her uncertainty of higher education and career paths before joining the Upward Program.

“It’s really awesome here. Before, I was unsure about college, but the sciences just sparked my interest,” Gonzalez said, adding that the close-knit family community among the program participants and staff/faculty made a tremendous impact on her life.

Dr. Jacqueline Dansby, director of the Upward Bound program at St. Mary’s, concurs with Gonzalez. “Upward Bound takes care of its students,” she says, “It’s the St. Mary’s way.”

For more information about the Upward Bound program at St. Mary’s University, email Dr. Dansby at jdansby@stmarytx.edu or call 210/436-3208.

The Upward Bound program is one of the TRIO programs throughout the United States that helps students overcome social and cultural barriers in higher education.

Learn more about the Upward Bound program by visiting the Ed.gov
For more information about St. Mary’s University, visit the university web site.

Upward Bound programs can also be found at local colleges/universities.
UTSA Upward Bound
Palo Alto College Upward Bound – contact Monica Ayalya at mayala5@alamo.edu