This page helps with some of the most common questions students, parents, and guardians ask. If you don’t see your question, please complete the Contact Us form, email us at, or call us at 207-780-5203.

There is no cost to the student or family to join the program. We do provide a stipend for active participation. Services provided to Upward Bound students, including the Summer Academy, trips, tutoring services, and college prep work are provided free of charge by the US Department of Education.

No, we are not a scholarship program. We provide advice and guidance for families to complete financial aid applications such as the FAFSA and CSS Profile. We also connect students to specific scholarships and access programs, help with scholarship applications, write recommendation letters, and help families understand financial aid offer letters.

If you want to go to college, but don’t really know all the steps it’ll take to get there, then Upward Bound is for you. Our current students don’t have all the answers either, but they know enough to ask questions in order to get the right answers. Also, if your grades are ok, but could be better, or if they’re great but you want a challenge, then you’re in the right place.

We encourage our students to form an open, welcoming group of young people. They realize they’re all working toward the same goal; so they support each other and help each other.

Yes! We have students who have started off with a failing class or two and gone on to achieve great success later in high school and in college.

If you do not get selected this year and you qualify then your records will be kept on a waiting list for the next available space. We will contact you as space opens.

We strive to develop a strong working partnership with each student and his/her/their family. Therefore, it is important that the whole family consider the following:

  • The purpose of the program
  • Services provided
  • Time commitments for the school year and Summer Academy
  • Importance of open communication & returning phone calls and messages

Students who are accepted into Upward Bound are accepted for the remainder of their high school careers provided they keep their grades up and continue to participate. We ask that students attend all Upward Bound sponsored events. Remember, you can’t get anything out of a program you don’t put anything into. We promise to make an investment in your education if you promise to invest your time and energy by participating.

The application process takes place during the fall semester. Students are often referred by teachers and school counselors, but they may also refer themselves. Those interested in applying must first fill out an Upward Bound application. Your application is reviewed by staff then an interview is set up to determine your level of commitment to the program.

Due to Federal regulations, we can only serve students who attend our target schools. If your child does not attend one of our target schools, please check with one of the other local Upward Bound programs.

Students are accepted based on income level and their parents’ highest education. If a household does not meet the income eligibility, but neither parent has a bachelor’s degree the student may still be accepted into the program.

TRIO Upward Bound at USM serves 64 high school students from Massabesic, Westbrook, and Poland Springs High Schools and 63 students from Biddeford and Sanford High Schools.

Eligible students must meet at least one of several possible criteria based on factors such as parent education and family income. If you have questions about whether or not you are eligible, please fill out an Upward Bound application, Contact Us form, or contact our office at 207-780-5203 for more information.