IUPUI among those getting federal college prep grants

Correction: The Associated Press originally reported that IUPUI received its grant in the first round and not in a second round that considered applications initially rejected due to formatting errors. The school got its funding in the first round.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a round of funding for programs that help low-income students who aspire to attend college.

Members of Congress on Wednesday confirmed five-year Upward Bound awards to several universities, including IUPUI, which announced a $2.8 million grant. The university will receive $570,221 annually.

Others getting grants are Wittenberg in Ohio, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Columbia University in New York, the University of Montana, Illinois Central College and Kankakee Community College in Illinois.

The grants included more than $623,000 for Maine at Presque Isle; over $356,000 for the University of Montana and nearly $517,000 for Wittenberg.

Some awards are going to programs with applications that were initially rejected because of formatting errors such as not being double-spaced or using the wrong font. IUPUI was not among those schools.

The Education Department initially said it would not reconsider the Upward Bound applications if applicants used the wrong font or were incorrectly spaced.

Program administrators and members of Congress decried the bureaucracy. A quarter of the U.S. Senate signed a letter asking that programs be allowed to submit corrected applications to "prevent this absurd result."

Because the grants are awarded for five years, programs with rejected applications would not have been able to seek funding again until 2022, meaning dozens would have to shut down.

A spending bill that Congress passed in May encouraged the Education Department to reconsider and included $50 million in funding for the grants.

Later that month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a Senate committee that the 77 applications with formatting errors would be scored and considered in a second round of funding. It was not immediately clear on Wednesday how many schools received funding. Members of Congress were given information for their state.

More than 62,000 high school students around the country receive services from Upward Bound.

The program puts students on an academic track for college, includes summer programs that give them a taste of campus life, and arranges visits to colleges. Students can receive tutoring along with career advice and help in applying to colleges and obtaining scholarships and other financial aid.

Upward Bound has served the IUPUI community since 1995. It currently works with Arlington Community High School, Arsenal Technical High School, Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities, Emmerich Manual High School, Northwest Community High School, and Warren Central High School/Walker Career Center.

"Our population is very diverse," said Roxanne Gregg, director of IUPUI's Upward Bound program, which is housed in University College in the Division of Undergraduate Education. "We work not only with students, but also with families and the communities where the families reside. A lot of times, people don't understand what it takes to go to college, all the little hidden languages that are involved. What we do is unpack that."

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.