What is Upward Bound?

CAC Upward Bound is a FREE pre-college, academic support program that prepares high school students in grades 9 through 12 to become successful college students.

Upward Bound is a federally funded program. Upward Bound is one of the original TRIO programs founded through the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty initiatives.


To be eligible, a student must:
• Have the desire and motivation to pursue further education after high school.
• Have completed 8th grade but not yet enrolled in 12th grade and attend one of the target schools – Coolidge High School, Casa Grande Union High School or Vista Grande High School
• Must be permanent resident or US Citizen.
• First generation college students (neither parent should have received a bachelor’s degree at the time of application) and/or meet the federal family income guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Education.


If you would like to learn more about the program, please call or email April Ortega (Program Director) or Rachel Pricco (Program Secretary):

April Ortega:
Phone: 520-494-5114
Email: april.Ortega@centralaz.edu
Rachel Pricco:
Phone: 520-494-5350
Email: rachel.pricco@centralaz.edu

Click Here to Download Application

 What to Expect

While Upward Bound can be hard work, it’s also a great deal of fun where students are encouraged to be themselves, work hard, play hard, and make friends from different area schools.
Students are given the opportunity to experiment with different classes than the ones at their high schools, which enables them to discover talents and interests they didn’t know existed.
The students learn the benefits of team-work through group activities and open discussions with their peers, program instructors and administrators.
They also discover that although they come from different schools and different situations, they’re all heading in the same direction — Toward Higher Education.

Academic Year and Summer Programs

CAC’s Project Upward Bound operates in two sessions: academic year and summer program.

Academic Year

During the academic year, students report to Upward Bound sessions on your HS campus and at CAC’s Signal Peak Campus.

Summer Academy

During the summer, students participate in the six–week academy, which allows them to experience college on a smaller scale. For one week the students will participate in a residential experience at CAC:

• Reside in one of the residence halls
• Eat their meals in the cafeteria
• Attend classes during the day
• Receive tutoring
• Participate in structured evening activities, and
• Attend various trips and college visits

The other 5 weeks of the summer academy will take place during the day only. Transportation assistance will be available.

Students enroll in courses they will take in the upcoming school year, such as:

• Biology
• Chemistry
• Algebra
• Geometry
• Calculus
• English
• Foreign languages, and
• A variety of other Electives
• Students who have completed 10th grade have the opportunity to take college level courses at CAC once they have passed placement tests.


Tutorial services are available to all UB participants.
Students who have difficulty in a particular class will be required to attend tutoring but students who are doing well and wish to remain ahead in their classes are also encouraged to receive tutoring.

Assessment and Advising
Students work individually with the administrative staff and instructors on areas such as personal inventories, career searches, high school course selection, resume writing, and study skills.

Exposure to Various Events
Students will have the opportunity to attend special activities in the community such as plays, museum trips, art exhibits, workshops and community service activities.

Financial Advising
The administrative staff in conjunction with CAC’s financial aid office works with the students and their parents to complete federal financial aid forms and search for scholarships.

SAT or ACT Prep
Each year junior and senior students are provided a prep course to help them with the college entrance exams

In addition, Upward Bound provides students with fee waivers which relieve students and their parents from the financial responsibility of having to pay for the SAT or ACT

College Tours
Students visit a number of institutions of higher ed. Students tour campuses, meet with students and faculty, and make direct contact with the college or university’s admissions department.

College Application and Selection
Staff will assist students with college applications and scholarships.

Scholastic Advising
Our staff maintains contact with students’ guidance counselors and teachers to ensure each student is obtaining courses necessary for college enrollment.


What does participation CAC’s Upward Bound program cost?
Zero. There’s no monetary cost to participate in Upward Bound. It is a free, federally-funded program. The only investment is one of time, commitment, and dedication.

Will I fit in?
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 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 good, but can be better, or if they’re great but you want a challenge, then you’re in the right place.

What kinds of classes can I take at Upward Bound?
Upward Bound offers students the opportunity to enroll in classes usually not offered by their home high schools.

If you find you have academic areas where you need a little extra assistance, you can enroll in supplemental courses in English and Math that can help you raise your test scores and polish your skills.

If I enroll in CAC’s Upward Bound, does this mean I have to attend CAC once I graduate from high school?
No, not at all. While CAC is a great option to start your post-secondary education the program will assist you with the enrollment process at any school you choose to attend.