UH Hilo Upward Bound awarded nearly $6M to prepare local high school students for college

The grants support first-generation students and students who come from low-income families around Hawai‘i Island as they explore and prepare for college.

Students working on wiring equipment.
Students from the Teaching Through Technology (T3) Alliance, a University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Upward Bound summer program, install an air-quality monitoring station outside the Dragon’s Eye Learning Center on Papaya Farms Road in 2017. (Archive photo courtesy of Adam Low)

The Upward Bound program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received four five-year grants totaling nearly $6 million through the U.S. Department of Education TRIO Programs to support high school students in their preparation for college entrance.

Farrah-Marie Gomes
Farrah-Marie Gomes

“Collectively, these grants provide us the opportunity to support first-generation students and students who come from low-income families around Hawai‘i Island as they explore and prepare for college,” says lead author of the grants Farrah-Marie Gomes, who serves as vice chancellor for student affairs at UH Hilo.

Co-authors of the grant proposals are Upward Bound Interim Director Shayna Fuerte, Associate Director Claire Uyetake, Assistant Director Sarah Lips, and staff.

Upward Bound is a free, year-round program that provides a variety of services and activities to assist high school students pursue their educational and career goals. Once the student is accepted into the program, Upward Bound staff work with them throughout the academic year and each summer providing instructions, activities, and services. The results are students who are academically, socially, financially, and emotionally successful in college and beyond.

“The project goals focus on key elements of student success, first with completion at the high school level then with preparation for a smooth transition to college,” says Gomes.

The UH Hilo programs and grant awards include:

      • UH Hilo Upward Bound East Program ($1,488,005), Kea‘au High School and Pahoa High and Intermediate School.
      • UH Hilo Upward Bound Urban Program ($1,488,005), Hilo High School and Waiakea High School.
      • UH Hilo Upward Bound North Program ($1,488,000), Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School and Kohala High School.
      • UH Hilo Upward Bound West Program ($1,488,005), Kealakehe High School and Konawaena High School.

While specific goals and details of each grant varies slightly, all grants include components of the following program objectives:

      • Academic Performance based on Grade Point Average.
      • Academic Performance on Standardized Test.
      • Secondary School Retention and Graduation.
      • Secondary School Graduation (rigorous secondary school program of study).
      • Postsecondary Enrollment.
      • Postsecondary Completion.

“The types of services and support provided by the Upward Bound programs demonstrate UH Hilo’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as we work to ensure that all students have the ability to access higher education opportunities,” Gomes says.


Media release