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McNeese Upward Bound Program Receives Federal Grant

McNeese Upward Bound Program Receives Federal Grant

Mayor Nic Hunter with students
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter meets with McNeese State University Upward Bound students prior to presentations during Advocacy Day.
The McNeese program has been awarded a five-year federal grant totaling more than $1.6 million to continue serving potential first-generation college students.

(August 2, 2017) McNeese State University has received a five-year federal grant totaling more than $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue the university’s Upward Bound program designed to serve potential first-generation college students.

Upward Bound - initiated at McNeese in 1986 - is designed for eligible high school students in grades 9-12 from LaGrange and Washington Marion high schools.

“We enroll highly motivated students who desire to complete high school and pursue a college degree,” Braylon Harris, Upward Bound director at McNeese, said.

The McNeese program consists of two components--an academic year component and a summer component with activities designed to improve the participant’s academic competencies and critical thinking skills.

There are currently 72 students enrolled in the program. During the academic year, students receive supplemental help in English, math, science and foreign languages during tutoring sessions one day per week at their respective schools and attend workshops and seminars on selected Saturdays at McNeese and in the community.

Harris said during the summer component students are on the McNeese campus for six weeks attending core high school classes that will prepare them for future courses in school, participating in extracurricular activities including work study and receiving career and academic counseling to assist them in choosing a college for postsecondary education.

McNeese’s summer program - with 50 students enrolled - recently wrapped up on campus with an Advocacy Day, where students made presentations on a variety of social issues in front of community leaders – Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Kevin Guidry, KPLC anchor Cynthia Arceneaux and Calcasieu Parish School Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus.

“Another summer program - the Upward Bound Summer Bridge program  - focuses on assisting graduating participants with their transition from high school to college by giving them an opportunity to complete six hours of academic credit at McNeese,” says Harris. “McNeese scholarships are available to Upward Bound participants to assist with their continuing education at McNeese.”

Upward Bound pays all summer fees for Bridge students, including tuition, books and supplies. “Bridge Program participation greatly increases a student’s potential for success in college,” Harris says. “In addition to attending classes at McNeese, students meet weekly with an Upward Bound staff member to monitor student progress, advise and answer questions.”

The academic progress of all Upward Bound graduates attending colleges and universities is continuously monitored by the Upward Bound staff.

“Whether our Upward Bound students attend McNeese or some other university, follow-up on all of our graduates is an integral part of the program,” says Harris. “Our students have gone on to become physicians, dentists, pharmacists, lawyers, professors, educators, authors, nurses, engineers and much more. Not only do we want them to succeed in the classroom, but also in life as well.”

The 2017-2018 academic year component begins on Aug. 28. For more information about McNeese’s Upward Bound program, contact Harris at 337-475-5444 or at