The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 24, 2012

Federal funding renews Upward Bound at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — Federal funding for Missouri Southern State University’s Upward Bound program has been renewed.

The program was informed of the funding renewal by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs. The funding is expected to be $280,772 per year for five years.

Robin Hicklin, Upward Bound director, said the program has been in place for 12 years at MSSU. It serves 73 students a year in grades nine through 12 from the Carl Junction, Carthage, East Newton, Joplin and Webb City school districts. The program helps the students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Hicklin said all of the participants have graduated from high school, and that 40 to 45 percent have gone on to graduate from a four-year institution, getting at least a bachelor’s degree.

“Our goal is to get that up around 60 percent,” Hicklin said.

Hicklin said the program works with participants, providing tutoring online or in person.

The participants go to the campus one Saturday a month. They are taken on visits to area colleges and universities. Guest speakers are brought in to discuss career options. The visits help the students become familiar with campuses, he said.

The students also can shadow university students to see what university life is like.

There also is a six-week summer program on campus each year. The students attend high school classes that have a college format. Fridays include cultural experiences and field trips. This summer, students will visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. The students also take a cultural trip each year, with this year’s destination as Chicago.

Hicklin said all costs are paid by the program.

“It’s not just student commitment — they love the fellowship with their fellow students,” Hicklin said. “Most of our kids are very academically focused.”

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