Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For over 35 years the Benedict program has served over 1,700 students in the Midlands.
The program currently has a 96% retention rate with 94% of students
passing the high school exit exam.

Columbia, SC -- May 16, 2012 -- Benedict College recently received two federal grants totaling $3.4 million over a five-year funding period from the United States Department of Education. The five-year grant comes under the Department of Education's Upward Bound program which seeks to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. Upward Bound participants must be potential first-generation college students, low-income individuals, or individuals who have a high need for academic support in order to successfully pursue a program of education beyond high school.

The first award is a renewal grant to serve 100 participants from five (5) high schools in Fairfield, Lexington, and Richland counties: Airport, Brookland-Cayce, C.A. Johnson Preparatory Academy, Fairfield Central, and W.J. Keenan high schools. The second award is a new award to serve 60 students at Camden High School located in Kershaw County. According to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, Debra Saunders-White, new awards made up only 8 percent of the successful applicants. The United States Department of Education funded a total of 780 programs in the first funding slate out of 1,562 applicants.

"This funding will help ensure that low-income students are well-prepared and well-equipped to excel in higher education, which is so important for success in today's world," said Dr. David H. Swinton, President and CEO of Benedict College. "In addition, in an increasingly global marketplace, the math and science training will help make sure America's students can compete with anyone in the world."

"We are delighted and excited about receiving $3.4 million in grant funds to serve first-generation college bound students at Benedict College," said Ms. Carolyn Pouncy, Director of Upward Bound at Benedict College. "Benedict is a great host institution for our Upward Bound Program. I am pleased that we have been allowed to continue the tradition of providing academic, social and cultural development to ensure that our students will realize their goal of attending college."

Upward Bound is a pre-college program that has existed at Benedict College for more than 35 years. Students are accepted on the premise that they are college-bound and have the potential to successfully matriculate in a post-secondary institution of their choice. The purpose of the program is to foster the skills necessary for success in education beyond high school. This project is geared toward students who meet income guidelines and are from families whose parents have not earned a bachelor's degree. Upward Bound is for students who have the academic potential for doing college work, but lack the educational preparation and/or resources needed to enter college.

The Upward Bound Program services include an academically intensive six-week summer residential program and during the school year, monthly academic Saturday sessions and a weekly after-school program of tutoring. Upward Bound services are located on the Benedict College campus, which provides students with access to the College's resources. The program is free and, in addition, students are paid a small stipend for their participation.

The Benedict College Upward Bound program has served well over 1,700 students throughout its history. The program currently has a 96% retention rate with 94% of students passing the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) exit exam. Nearly 70% of participants enrolled in a program of post-secondary education and almost 80% of program participants who enrolled in a program of post-secondary education returned to college for a second year.


Kymm Hunter, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing; 803.705.4519
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366