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Cut off from funding, SUNY Canton’s Upward Bound program ending

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CANTON — At the end of the school year, college-bound St. Lawrence County students will lose access to a highly successful preparatory program at SUNY Canton.

Gregory E. Kie, SUNY Canton media relations manager, said the Upward Bound program fell short in an attempt to secure a $502,000 federal grant.

“SUNY Canton has been notified that it will not be receiving Federal grant funding to continue the TRiO Upward Bound program,” said Mr. Kie in an e-mail. “Although current funding is scheduled to expire May 31, the College will continue funding upward bound staff to maintain counseling, tutoring and support service for the approximately 100 current students through the end of their high school academic year.”

This year, the U.S. Department of Education announced $324.9 million for 982 Upward Bound programs throughout the country, but SUNY Canton’s program did not make the list.

Upward Bound is a federally-funded educational program geared toward high school students from groups who typically did not attend college in high numbers, like individuals from low-income or rural families. After eighth grade, students would apply, and if accepted the program would see them through all four years of high school.

“In order to qualify, students must have an interest in obtaining a college degree and demonstrate a desire for academic support,” wrote Mr. Kie. “Typically, the teenagers involved will be the first in their families who become college students. Upward Bound has been in St. Lawrence County for the past 43 years.”

Most Upward Bound students ended up attending college.

The program at SUNY Canton was the only Upward Bound program in St. Lawrence County, said Mr. Kie, serving students from Canton Central School, Gouverneur Central School, Heuvelton Central School, Massena Central School, Norwood-Norfolk Central School, Ogdensburg Free Academy, Parishville-Hopkinton Central School and Salmon River Central School.

It consisted of two components — a summer program involving college prep classes and on-campus experience, and a tutoring element that takes place during the school year. “The class offerings during the summer program extend past those available in high schools, including hands-on specialized art, science, fitness, health, language, and mathematics offerings,” said Mr. Kie. “The students are likewise talented and add to the vibrancy of our college’s atmosphere.”

Mr. Kie held out the possibility that SUNY Canton might continue a similar program.

“Dr. Kennedy would like to look into funding something similar to Upward Bound at SUNY Canton,” he said.

Due to the loss of funding, the program will be discontinued in June as the high schools dismiss for summer.

“Upward Bound students and their respective administrators from nine area schools in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties have been notified of the current status of the program, and subsequent cancellation of the summer program,” said Mr. Kie.

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