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October 30, 2017

Avila University's Upward Bound Program Partners with Kansas City Public Schools

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Program serves limited income and first-generation students in need of tutoring and college entrance preparation

(October 30, 2017) KANSAS CITY, MO – Avila University was awarded a $1.4 million TRIO Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This award, totaling $1.4 million over the next five years, will allow Avila to partner with two high-need high schools in the Kansas City Public School district: Northeast High School and Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri. This new partnership will help prepare students from for college serving an additional 60 students.           

The Upward Bound (UB) program serves high school students from limited income families and students who would be the first in their family to attend college. Through the program, high school students receive instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science and foreign language, during the school year and over the summer. UB also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.

Anna McDonald is the TRIO project director at Avila and sees tremendous new potential by partnering with Kansas City Public Schools. “A benefit of Upward Bound is the intensity of program services. We spend a great deal of time working with our students and identifying their individual needs. College prep is not a one-size fits all concept and Upward Bound truly specializes in targeted services.”

Amanda Campbell, lead counselor at Central High School is ecstatic over the new partnership with Upward Bound. “The partnership will allow several of our students the ability to have a smooth transition into the next phase of their education. Our students are excited about the partnership and can’t wait for Upward Bound to be on campus.”

Bryan Capers is the Upward Bound director at Avila. “I am excited to be part of the process in helping lay the foundation for student success alongside Northeast and Central High Schools,” said Capers. “In the conversations, we have had with both administrations, I left with the common theme around student success - that as long as we reach at least one student, we are still making an impact and helping to change trajectories. It is encouraging to be embedded in this process with that framework.”

Current research shows that Upward Bound programs are extremely successful in getting limited income and first-generation students to pursue higher education. “This will benefit the students who participate and the community as a whole. The power of a higher-education cannot be understated,” said Avila University Senior Director of Development, Deanna Nelson.


Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community. Our approach to education brings out the best in our students, so they can bring out the best in others.

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