BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Upward Bound program was awarded a five-year federal grant by the U.S. Department of Education to help students in the local community attend college.

The $16 million grant was awarded to nine UTRGV-affiliated Upward Bound programs from Rio Grande City to Port Isabel. Upward Bound falls under the TRIO program umbrella, which is a federal outreach program designed to identify and provide services for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including eight programs that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.

“Upward Bound helps open the door to opportunities for Valley students who dream of a college education,” said Cindy Valdez, associate vice president for College Access and K-12 Partnerships. “With these grants, we can continue offering a concentration of services to help build successful futures with strong academic foundations for current and future students.”

The universities role with the program is to serve as the fiscal agent for the grants and is responsible for providing high school students with all the services required of the Upward Bound program.

Schools that will benefit from this award are the following: Edinburg-Economedes High School, Mission High School, Edcouch-Elsa High School, Brownsville-Lopez High School, Porter Early College High School, Rivera High School, Rio Hondo High School, Port Isabel High School, La Grulla High School, Rio Grande City High School, Raymondville High School and Lyford High School.

Students in this program will reap the rewards by attending academic enrichment tutoring through enrichment sessions on Saturdays, and a mandatory six-week summer program that includes instruction in core courses such as English, math, science, a foreign language and college readiness.

For more information on the Upward Bound program, visit