Upward Bound works with high school students (9th-12th grade) to help prepare them for college success and future careers!

In Upward Bound you will…

  • Improve study skills
  • Discover your passions
  • Visit colleges
  • Prepare for the ACT
  • Explore career interests and shadow/interview professionals
  • Apply for financial aid including scholarships
  • Apply to colleges
  • Meet new people
  • Have FUN!

Upward Bound is an equal opportunity, federally funded, U.S. Department of Education TRIO program, providing free college readiness programming for high school students whose family’s taxable income meets federal low income guidelines, and/or whose parents did not earn a bachelor’s degree (student would be the first generation in their family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree).

The Itasca TRIO Upward Bound (Itasca UB) program provides year-round academic support services to prepare high school students to successfully transition into college with a goal of completing post-secondary education. Itasca UB serves 75 students from these area high schools:

  • Grand Rapids
  • Greenway
  • Bigfork
  • Hill City
  • Deer River
  • Northland-Remer
  • McGregor

Students may be accepted into Upward Bound once they have completed 8th grade, or prior to completing 11th grade. Once accepted into Upward Bound, a student stays in the program all throughout high school, and receives support during the transition into college. Once students make the decision to join Upward Bound, they are committed for the rest of their high school career. UB academic advisors will stay in contact with students for six years after graduation to ensure they have the support needed to successfully complete a degree. Upward Bound is a big commitment to students’ academic success and services include weekly meetings each high school with UB advisors to monitor academic progress, Saturday gatherings SIX times throughout each academic year, and a SIX-week summer program where students take classes and stay on the Itasca campus.

Academic Year Services 

  • Weekly contact at each high school through both individual and small group sessions. This includes tutoring, homework help, completing college and career related activities, and monitoring and tracking of student academic progress through both individual and small group sessions.
  • Saturday Workshops one time per month that include cultural experiences, social events, ACT preparation, college visits, volunteer projects, and service-learning activities.

Summer Services 

  • A six-week academic summer program that includes staying in Itasca dormitories Monday – Friday
  • Academic courses taught by college and high school faculty that are specifically designed to give Upward Bound students a head start on the next year’s high school courses.
  • Nightly cultural, social, and recreational activities designed to prepare students for college and adult life, build leadership and social skills, and broaden student awareness and appreciation of the world.
  • Educationally oriented weeklong trip that includes college visits and other fun activities.

TRIO Upward Bound students may also earn stipends for meeting certain GPA expectations and participating in Upward Bound activities, students are paid a monthly stipend. Juniors and seniors successfully completing a professional internship may earn $200-$300.

How to Join

Students who are interested in joining the Itasca Upward Bound program can fill out the initial interest form below. Once Itasca UB Staff receive the initial form, we will contact the student and parent/guardian via telephone to discuss the program and next steps for joining.

For More Information Please Contact:

Toni Wick, Program Director
toni.wick@minnesotanorth.edu, 218-322-2461

Kelci Ahlstrom, Advisor
Kelci.ahlstrom@minnesotanorth.edu, 218-322-2462
Bigfork, Deer River, Northland-Remer and McGregor schools

Tashanna Martinetto, Advisor
Tashanna.martinetto@minnesotanorth.edu, 218-322-2463
Grand Rapids, Greenway, and Hill City schools