Pima Community College Gets $1.4 Million Grant to Serve First Generation College Students

A new federal grant enables Pima Community College to serve 60 low-income and first-generation students interested in STEM from Alta Vista, Desert View and Sunnyside high schools each year for the next five years.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Pima $1,437,685.00 over five years for the TRiO Upward Bound Math and Science Program, which is to be based at Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz. The program will focus on low-income, first-generation high schools students interested in a science, technology, engineering or math degree.

“We are excited to have these additional resources to give first-gen students interest in STEM careers,” said Daniel Pacheco, TRiO Upward Bound program manager.

Desert Vista Campus already houses another TRiO Upward Bound program that each year serves 65 low-income and first-generation students from Desert View and Sunnyside high schools, regardless of interest area. In 2021, this program had a 48% college graduation rate. That’s while serving students in the lowest academically performing community in Tucson (less than a 13% college success rate).  

The UBMS program will have activities during the academic year and over the summer, including a summer bridge program for recent high school graduates. The goals of the activities are to boost student academic achievement, and provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to graduate high school and succeed in college.

The area served by Alta Vista, Desert View and Sunnyside covers parts of the Tohono O’odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation. Of the area residents, 84% are Hispanic and more than 42% of the families have incomes less than 150% of the poverty rate. Less than 10% of graduates of the area’s high schools earn a college degree within six years of graduating.

The UBMS program will provide:

  • Academic tutoring, coaching and mentoring
  • Assistance with high school and college course selection
  • Information on federal student financial aid programs and assistance with completing financial aid applications
  • Guidance on and assistance in secondary school reentry, alternative education programs and college entry
  • Financial literacy education for students and their families
  • Academic instruction in all required courses
  • The program also will expose students to cultural events and academic programs through college visits, teach students about dual enrollment courses and other ways to earn college credit, teach them about different careers, provide mentoring, and offer workshops on such topics as study skills and choosing a college. The program also will engage community partners to provide guest speakers, give tours and share career experiences, and encourage community service and leadership development.

Upward Bound is one of eight federal TRiO outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs target low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

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