Cal Lutheran Upward Bound gets $3.6M

Largest-ever award will expand college-prep efforts

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High school students participate in a summer residential program through Cal Lutheran's TRIO Traditional Upward Bound program.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — June 17, 2022) The U.S. Department of Education awarded California Lutheran University more than $3.6 million to continue and expand its TRIO Traditional Upward Bound services for high school students in Oxnard, Hawthorne and Lawndale.

The five-year grants comprise the largest amount Cal Lutheran has ever received for its program, which for 42 years has been motivating and preparing low-income and potential first-generation college students to continue their education beyond high school.

A $2,138,500 grant will allow the university to serve 89 students a year from Oxnard’s public high schools, and a $1,488,000 award will fund its work with 60 students a year from Hawthorne and Leuzinger high schools in Los Angeles County.

The program provides high school students with tutoring, academic advising, weekend classes, college tours and parent workshops during the school year. The students also participate in a six-week summer residential program. This summer, more than 160 students will live on the Cal Lutheran campus from June 26 through Aug. 5 while participating in personal growth workshops; visiting other college campuses; and taking rigorous courses in math, literature, composition, foreign language, laboratory science, American Sign Language and music from faculty.

Throughout the summer after students graduate from high school, Upward Bound staff members follow up to make sure they complete the steps to enroll in college. They do this during the residential program, and by sending texts and emails containing checklists twice a week and answering questions that arise. Studies show that students who receiving counseling during the summer are more likely to enroll in college, but high schools don’t provide these services during this time.

Under the new grants, Cal Lutheran will partner with several community organizations for the first time to help meet the socioeconomic needs of the students and their families. Staff members will work with the Guardian Scholars Program, Ventura County Community Development Corp. and regional housing authorities to meet housing needs; and with Food Share of Ventura County, the Department of Health and Human Services, and school district student nutrition offices to address food insecurity. Cal Lutheran will partner with Equal Rights Commission offices to help families facing discrimination challenges, and the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services staff members will provide community referrals for those dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.

From 2017 to 2021, 98% of Cal Lutheran’s TRIO Upward Bound scholars graduated from high school and enrolled in post-secondary institutions, and 93% completed the rigorous curriculum required for University of California admission. Six years after graduating from high school, 71% completed post-secondary education.