Washington State University Upward Bound

Serving Highland and Yakima School Districts

We welcome students who are passionate about getting involved in their community and becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

Develop your skills to become a pillar of your society and make an impact on the next generation.

Students in Upward Bound are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds.

Washington State University Upward Bound helps high school students gain the academic skills and motivation needed to earn a college degree. Yakima Upward Bound staff provide support, knowledge, instruction, opportunities, and encouragement for potential college students whose parents do not have a college degree. Upward Bound staff work one on one with each student and are personally committed to the success of their students. The program is limited to 63 students/ year.

Services offered:

  • Preparation for high school graduation, including studying and testing skill development.
  • Professional tutoring available 24/7.
  • College admissions assistance including college visits, college selection, and preparing competitive applications. Some college visits will be up a week in length.
  • Assistance with applying for Financial Aid and scholarships.
  • Career Exploration to assist the student in determining which programs to study while in college.
  • Support and guidance for students interested in earning college credits while in high school. Yakima Upward Bound provides advising and some textbook loans to active participants who enroll in Running Start.
  • Advising Student Workshops.
  • Parent Workshops on Financial Aid and college selection offered in Spanish and English.
  • Pre-College testing Preparation and registration Leadership Development and opportunities.
  • Financial Literacy.
  • Awareness of student’s top strengths.
  • Community Service opportunities.
  • Instruction and Tutoring in Writing and Literature, Lab Sciences, Foreign Languages, and Math and Pre-College Testing preparation.
  • 6-week WSU Summer Academy.
  • Opportunity for a paid research internship just before college.
  • Social and cultural opportunities to prepare the student for college success.

Eligible students:

  • 9th-12th grades ages 14-19 who attend Eisenhower or Highland High Schools in Yakima County.
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.
  • Intend to attend college after high school graduation.
  • Will commit to participate in the program until the fall after high school graduation.
  • Not enrolled in another college prep program.
  • The student’s parents have not completed a four-year college degree OR the family is income eligible as defined by the Department of Education’s Federal Guidelines as listed here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/incomelevels.html

Expectations of Students Enrolled in Upward Bound Program:

  • Students will achieve and maintain a Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Students must pursue a rigorous course curriculum as described in the Washington State College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs)
  • Students must participate in weekly meetings and attend all academic activities as required.
  • Participate in at least one 6-week Summer Academy.
  • Students will apply for admissions to three colleges or universities.
  • Students will apply for three scholarships.
  • Students will complete required standardized testing.
  • Students will complete the Free Application for Free Students Aid (FAFSA) during their
    senior year of high school.

Apply for WSU Upward Bound-Yakima

*Enrollment in Upward Bound is limited. All services are provided at no cost to students enrolled in the program.

Students interested in joining Upward Bound are required to complete an application and interview process. Paper and online application forms are available. Request a paper application be sent to you by emailing Upward Bound Program Director Rhonda Gardinier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and provide the student's name, mailing address, phone number, and which school they attend.

Online application: https://wsu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lSR2JA1y1CmKnY 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Updated shortly...

Upward Bound staff work one on one with each student and are personally committed to the success of their students.
El personal de “Upward Bound” trabaja uno a uno con cada estudiante y está personalmente comprometido al éxito de los estudiantes.

Students in Upward Bound are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate.
Los estudiantes de “Upward Bound” tiene cuatro veces más probabilidad de acabar una licenciatura que aquellos estudiantes con similares condiciones que no participen.

State Financial Aid for DREAMers

A new state law has expanded eligibility for the Washington State Need Grant to low income, non-citizen students who meet the program's eligibility requirements and also satisfy the residency criteria. Washington State joined California, New Mexico, and Texas by in enacting its own version of the Dream Act which extends state grants to undocumented students.

Visit realhopewa.org for more information.
The free Washington Application for State Financial Aid, or WASFA.
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