$1.3M USC Sumter grant to fund college-bound program for Manning High students
by Robert Joseph Baker | June 13, 2017 3:30 pm
The University of South Carolina Sumter has been awarded a $1.3 million grant to cover a program for the next five years in partnership with Clarendon School District 2.
The money will be used to fund an Upward Bound program geared toward District 2 students, said USC Sumter Opportunity Scholars Program Director Lisa Rosdail.
“We applied for this grant to help teenagers develop dreams for future careers and success,” Rosdail said. “Our hope is that our Upward Bound program meets a critical need in the community.”
The award was announced Tuesday by Sen. Tim Scott’s office, who noted the funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Education. The Upward Bound program will be in addition to the university’s current TRIO program, known on campus as the Opportunity Scholars Program, which assists first-generation, low-income and physically and mentally disabled students succeed in the college atmosphere.
While OSP is designed to serve college students solely, Rosdail said, the UB program will work with those same sets of students who are college-bound, “aiding them with the academic and life skills necessary to graduate from high school and succeed in college.”
USC Sumter will have the second such UB program. Morris College currently has a similar program for students in Clarendon, Sumter and Lee counties.
“We are grateful to receive funding to begin this program that is so successful across the country,” said Palmetto College Campus Dean Dr. Michael Sonntag. “Local business leaders say there are not enough students to fill current and future employment needs in our area. This grant is just another way USC Sumter is trying to get students in the college-bound pipeline and getting them into the workforce well prepared.”
The Department of Education determined the strongest need in the Clarendon District 2 area, which includes Manning High School. The USC Sumter grant will serve 60 students per year at Manning High School for the next five years, tracking them through high school all the way to college graduation.
“I am honestly in shock that we received the grant because of the strict competition,” Rosdail said. “This will be a wonderful opportunity for USC Sumter to forge a relationship with the Clarendon community.”
As part of the grant, USC Sumter will be responsible for providing qualified tutors in the high school as well as offering counseling, mentoring, exam preparation and cultural enrichment opportunities.
Participants in the program have an obligation to come onto the USC Sumter campus once per month during the school year for various workshops and take part in a six-week summer component to prepare them for the next academic year.
“Ideally, the Upward Bound program will help these students raise their high school GPAs to a level consistent with college entry, prepare them for successful application into college and help students and families pursue federal financial aid and other funding sources to attend college,” Rosdail said.
According to national UB data, the program’s participants are 25 percent more likely to graduate from high school and 17 percent more likely to enroll in college than program-eligible non-participants at high schools served by the program.
“Research proves that bridge programs like Upward Bound can mean the difference between economic success and failure,” said Sonntag. “We’re excited to develop this program from the ground up and look forward to helping students accomplish their goals.”
For more information, contact Rosdail by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.