Roanoke College Upward Bound Goes Unfunded - WSET.com - ABC13

Roanoke College Upward Bound Goes Unfunded

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Reporter:  David Tate

Salem, VA - High School students from Salem to Bedford County that count on Upward Bound programs to help guide their way to college will have to look for a new source of information and funding.

That program, administered from Roanoke College, was left out of the funding cycle this time around.

If Congress doesn't come up with the money by this fall, which was diverted to other educational programs, Upward Bound in the Roanoke Valley will be unfunded for at least the next five years.

Since 1965 the Roanoke Valley has hosted an Upward Bound program - part of a group of federal programs meant to give less fortunate people a hand up in education.

In this case high school kids dealt tough hands in life who are just looking for that one thing to help them over the hump.

"Growing up without Upward Bound, at first, I was like, 'OK, you gotta graduate high school so you can get that job that you want.' Ok, but I really didn't think I had the drive to go to college without the push of Upward Bound," said program alumnus Jeffrey Williams.

Williams, a kid from a tough Roanoke neighborhood was raised by a single father.

"They actually showed that they wanted to be there with us. They wanted to help us get on our path so that we could go out and do something with ourselves in the world," said Williams.

"There may be lack of resources, maybe, where college is not affordable. It could be just lack of knowledge in terms of what they need to do to prepare for that opportunity," said Theresa Jackson, director of Roanoke College Upward Bound.

At any given time, 70 at risk students cycle through the program which boasts a nearly 100% high school graduation rate; with 90% of those students heading to college.

And that's the part that hurts those involved the most.

Williams went on to graduate college and now teaches middle school during the day, mentoring Upward Bound by night.

He knows the true impact of the loss.

"I owe my entire future to Upward Bound," said Williams.

The Roanoke College program is holding onto hope the money will be found but is not optimistic

In all nationwide, 171 Upward Bound programs lost funding affecting more than 5,000 students.

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