Upward Bound

The Upward Bound Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a federally funded (U.S. Department of Education) TRIO college preparatory program with a design to generate in its participants the skills and motivation they need in education beyond high school. Upward Bound provides unique academic, career, and cultural opportunities for qualifying high school students who express an interest in pursuing college and demonstrate the potential to succeed in post-secondary education. Upward Bound grants currently serve approximately 956 programs nationwide and in Puerto Rico with over 70,000 students.

Providing the Tools to Build Academic Skills, Emotional Intelligence, and Social Success in High School, College, and Beyond is the mission TRIO and Upward Bound to address and help develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities that college demands. Students achieve program goals through a well-developed academic, cultural, social, and career readiness curriculum. Through workshops, tutoring, and advising, we are partners fostering the formation and pursuit of intellectual goals, well-developed and practiced social skills (such as leadership), and personal vision development.

It is also important to note that we are a resource; however, parents are the most vital support our students can have. Parents whose children participate in Upward Bound are required to support the program and their child’s involvement; by working together (program, students, and parents), we can prepare a better future for our scholars.



We recruit students for UWM Upward Bound in their freshman or sophomore year of high school. The best time to apply is during the fall of the freshman year — applications submitted before the end of the first quarter are eligible to compete for placement. New student orientations take place in November and December.

Students who enroll in Upward Bound must be:

  • A potential first-generation college student (neither parent has completed a four-year college degree) And/Or
  • From a family that meets income eligibility guidelines as determined by the Department of Education. To view the guidelines, visit https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/incomelevels.html
  • In the 9th or 10th grade
  • Enrolled in one of the target area schools:
    • Bay View, Hmong American Peace Academy, Marshall, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Riverside, South Division, Washington, and Wisconsin Conservatory Lifelong Learning; or within the target school service area


  • Motivated to participate in all program activities and willing to work hard. Students must be willing to participate in UB during the summer and throughout the school year.
  • Committed to attending college after high school.
  • Upward Bound gives preference to students who are willing to remain in the program through graduation from high school.
  • Upward Bound encourages cultural diversity and invites applications from eligible students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
What We Offer

Upward Bound provides participants with intense academic development, career exploration, social and cultural exposure, personal support, decision-making, and leadership development and direct exposure to the college environment. Students participate in the program from the time of acceptance through high school graduation.

Six-Week Summer Session

Participation in a required six-week pre-college summer program (June through July) on the UW-Milwaukee campus. Students attend classes according to grade level.
Other opportunities during the summer include:

  • Experiencing college life and making new friends.
  • Electives such as photography, self-defense, swimming, and study skills.
  • Social and cultural activities.
  • Improving communication skills and leadership training
  • Field trips explore academic, career and cultural subjects, as well as college-campus visits.

Program Details

Upward Bound provides information and assistance with college applications, scholarships and financial aid. Monthly meetings with advisors to address academics, college, career and personal challenges, keeps students on track. Guidance is provided for high school seniors through the college application process with direct supervision. Additionally, assistance for parents and students navigating the financial aid process are program goals. Students may earn monthly stipends of up to $40 during the school year, and a weekly stipend of $10 during the six-week summer program, for satisfactory participation.

Academic Year

During the school year, students attend weekly tutoring, studying and computer labs. Plus:

  • Social/Cultural Activities or Trips
  • College Visits and Campus Tours
  • Career Exploration
  • Researching Majors and Minors
  • College Placement Assistance
  • Pre-ACT Instruction
  • ACT Practice Testing
  • National TRIO Day Celebration

The pursuit of higher education is part of the ultimate goal of earning a college degree.

How to Apply & Application Instructions

To apply to become part of the Upward Bound program download the forms below, fill them out digitally, and send them back by using our Application Submission.

Staff Bios

Christina Garza, MS, Pre College Services Manager

Christina Garza, MS, ABD, is currently the director of Upward Bound, with TRIO & Pre-College Programs, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ms. Garza received her bachelor’s degree, majoring in communication and minoring in Spanish, from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While Christina was completing a master’s degree, she began working for the TRIO Programs and serving as director of Upward Bound at UW-Whitewater, as well as teaching communication as an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication. Ms. Garza pursued her doctoral program in urban education and multicultural studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After completing preliminary examinations, she transitioned to faculty at Alverno College as the director of community leadership and development and assistant professor in social sciences. The degree focused on nonprofit agencies, politics, social change initiatives, local, state, or national governmental institutions, and community development globally.

As an educator, Ms. Garza is passionate about the empowerment and transformation that occurs as a result of engaging students through servant leadership, cultural inclusion and respect for human dignity. She remains committed to advocating for advancing opportunities in education to assist today’s students and communities with a holistic set of resources essential for success as global citizens.

Contact Us

Office Information


Mitchell Hall Rm. 205
3203 N. Downer Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Mailing Address

Upward Bound
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413


Christina Garza, Pre College Services Manager

Tonisha Howard, Pre-College Services Advising Specialist

Jacob Amidon, Program Coordinator

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