CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is helping students prepare for college.
They're doing it through the Upward Bound program.
Established in 2017, it provides valuable resources for high school students, including tutoring, financial help and college exam preparations.
The six-week program is held on the Island University campus, including one week where students get to live in campus housing.
They also participate in classes taught by university faculty and teaching assistants who expose students to various STEM topics like robotics, nursing, and life sciences, all while reinforcing good study habits.
Students are also given the opportunity to tour different college campuses.
Right now, the program is available to students at West Oso High School, Solomon Coles High School, Moody High School and Miller High School.
To qualify, students must be considered low-income or a first-generation college student.
That means they must be the first person in their family to graduate with a Bachelor's degree.
The program helps approximately 120 area students every year.
On Wednesday, the program was given a $3 million grant to continue its mission.
"A lot of the students may think its impossible to go to college, so we first and foremost inform them of the possibility that they can go to college," said program director April Jasso. "It's very important to keep them motivated and educated so they can pursue their dreams."
According to the university, the Upward Bound program has boosted a 100% graduation rate for its high school students, with roughly 85% enrolling in post-secondary education the fall semester after high school graduation.
With the help of this grant, Jasso said they can continue the program for five more years.
This year, students in the program will travel and tour Texas A&M University - Galveston.
They will also have the opportunity to visit Houston-area museums along with the NASA Space Center.
The program has gained popularity over the last few years, and there is a waiting list for those looking to join.
To learn more about the Upward Bound program, click here.