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LMC awarded $1.9M, 5-year grant to help low-income, first-generation college students access higher education

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Lake Michigan College a five-year federal Upward Bound grant totaling $1,932,210. 

LMC will receive $386,442 annually for the next five years to assist more low-income, often first-generation college-bound students as they prepare for and enroll in higher education.  

“The Upward Bound program is critical to our community and students looking for support in their pursuit of a college degree,” said Adrienne Hill, director of TRIO Upward Bound Program at LMC. “We are thrilled that this program will continue to receive the funding needed to serve and support Benton Harbor High School students and their families as they navigate high school and prepare for post-secondary education.”  

Upward Bound, one of the federal TRIO Programs, is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree.  

Campus-based Upward Bound programs provide students with instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign languages during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students preparing for college entrance exams and tackling admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.  

Many Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, including Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, ABC News Correspondent John Quiñones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing. 

Lake Michigan College's Upward Bound program began in 1995 and has served students attending Benton Harbor High School for 27 years.  

"Every year, we see the life-changing impact the Upward Bound program has on the lives of students in our community," said Nygil Likely, LMC's Vice President of Student Affairs. "These are students with all the potential to succeed who may not have had the resources or opportunities to prepare for college. With this grant, the Upward Bound program at LMC can continue to close that gap, so these students can step onto any college campus and thrive."  

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86 percent of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In FY21, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound TRIO projects in the United States.  

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal TRIO programs to be later authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success. It bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college-bound peers have had and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically. 

"As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like Upward Bound take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees," said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide. 

As of 2021, more than 3,000 TRIO projects serve about 855,000 participants annually. TRIO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.   

To learn more about the Upward Bound program at LMC, visit, email or call 269-927-8774. 

Upward Bound students

Benton Harbor High School students take part in Lake Michigan College's Upward Bound 2022 Summer Academic Institute on Tuesday, June 21 on LMC's Benton Harbor Campus.

Media Contact

Jeremy D. Bonfiglio
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Lake Michigan College
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