OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local community college has been awarded a grant to help first-generation college students.

Oklahoma City Community College was awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the Upward Bound program.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the U.S. Department of Education,” said OCCC President Dr. Mautra Staley Jones. “This grant will facilitate the continuation of the Upward Bound program, which has been part of the OCCC community for nearly 30 years. Like many of our other pipeline projects, the Upward Bound program is a means of introducing first-generation high school students to our campus community and higher education generally.”

Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various courses during the school year and summer.

Organizers say the program mentors students as they prepare for college entrance exams and admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.

“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving underrepresented students and their families during their journey to college. Upward Bound’s success can be contributed to the support and compassion from administration, staff, faculty, community and most importantly, the students,” said Crystal Mohamed, Director of TRIO Grant programs at OCCC.  

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation.