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In August 1964, in the midst of his administration’s “War on Poverty,” President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act. This legislation gave rise to the office of Economic Opportunity and its Special Programs for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds or, as they have since become more commonly known, the nation’s TRIO programs.

As part of this statute, the first TRIO initiative, Upward Bound came into existence. The Upward Bound Program is a supplemental educational initiative designed to enable economically disadvantaged students to enroll in and successfully complete a program of postsecondary education. A product of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Upward Bound seeks to provide supplemental instruction, counseling services, and cultural enrichment activities to low-income high school students as a means of preparing these adolescents for college and/or university study. The program was first administered through the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).

Today, Upward Bound, along with four other federal initiatives that are together called the “TRIO” programs, receive funding under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Currently, 774 Upward Bound Programs are in operation throughout the United States.