• Upward Bound

  • Upward Bound
  • Upward Bound
  • Upward Bound
  • Upward Bound

The purpose of Upward Bound is to reinforce the academic skills and generate the personal motivation necessary to complete a college education. Specifically, the program is designed to improve high school performance and graduation rates, as well as the rate at which students enroll in and graduate from a college of their choice.

Target Area of Upward Bound

The Upward Bound on the Harding University campus is funded to serve 65 high school students within White and Woodruff counties. Specific high school districts served during the 2017-2022 grant cycle are Augusta, Bald Knob, McCrory, Riverview, and White County Central. Students residing in those counties or enrolled at one of the target schools may apply for admission.

Who is eligible for Upward Bound Program services?

"Students must have completed the 8th grade, be between the ages of 13 and 19, and have a need for academic support in order to pursue a program of postsecondary education. All students must be either from low-income families or be potential first-generation college students. The program requires that two-thirds of the participants in a project must be both low-income and potential first-generation college students. The remaining one-third must be either low-income or potential first-generation college students. Students are selected based on recommendations from local educators, social workers, clergy, or other interested parties." For further details...

Interested students may request information from the Upward Bound Program offices on the Harding University campus. Information is also available in the high school counselors’ offices.

HU UB Phone: 501-279-4170

HU UB Fax: 501-279-4169

Most students will be enrolled during their 9th grade year. Since participants are encouraged to remain with the program through high school graduation and college enrollment there will be a limited number of new students accepted each year.

Interested students complete an application package and submit it through their high school counselors to the Upward Bound Director. When Upward Bound staff verifies that all qualifications have been met a personal interview is arranged for the student and a parent(s). Students that meet all qualifications, including academic goals and willingness to commit, are invited to become a part of the Upward Bound (based on the number of openings available).

How is Upward Bound funded?

The program is funded through a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. There is no cost to participating students or their schools for UB services.


The Harding University Upward Bound Program is set to meet 12 Saturdays during the Academic Year. The typical Saturday begins at 9:00 and ends at 2:00. UB Students participate in ACT preparation, tutoring sessions, have lunch in the Harding University cafeteria and attend a workshop during the day. Workshop topics vary throughout the year with guest speakers leading most workshops.

Academic Year - From September through May, participants will spend 12 Saturdays on the Harding campus. The primary focus of these visits will be academic tutoring. Students also participate in workshops on a broad range of topics including study skills, social skills, learning styles, test taking strategies and interpersonal relationships. Students from outlying districts are provided transportation. Upward Bound provides Saturday lunch to students (at no charge to students) in the Harding University cafeteria.

Meeting Dates for 2022-2023

Fall 2023 Spring 2024
August 26 January 20
September 16 February 3
September 30 February 24
October 21 March 16
November 18 April 6
December 9 April 27

Summer Academy Component - Upward Bound students completing the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades attend a 6 week program in the summer. The Summer Academy is designed to simulate the "college" experience. Students live in the dorms on the Harding University campus, attend social events, eat in the university cafeteria, participate in field trips and enjoy various recreational activities. Most importantly students attend classes during the day Monday-Friday that consist of supplemental instruction in the high school curriculum. One goal of the Summer Academy is for each student to develop the tools needed to excel in the following school year.

Summer Academy Orientation - May 18

2023 Summer Academy

Tentative dates for 2024 six week Summer Academy are June 2 through July 12.

Summer Bridge Component - Following high school graduation qualifying UB participants will be encouraged to enroll in the first summer term at Harding University. Upward Bound pays all tuition and fees, as well as room and board charges, for the term. Tutors are supplied to support the "Bridge" students in their transition from high school to college. Bridge students have the opportunity to participate in most Summer Academy activities alongside the other UB students.

UB Special Activities

The HU Upward Bound enjoys the Harding University Homecoming musical together in the fall (2014 - Shrek, the Musical; 2015 - Singin' In the Rain; 2016 - Crazy for You - Gershwin; 2017 - Annie Get Your Gun; 2018 - Big Fish, 2019 - Matilda) plus HU Spring Sing during the spring semester. We also attend HU American Studies Institute events together (eg. Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia).

UB Activities

Past summer trips (Traditional 6th week of Summer Academy)

2023 Summer Trip - St. Louis, Missouri

2021 Summer Trip - Branson, Missouri

2019 Summer Trip - Atlanta, Georgia

2018 Summer Trip - Branson, Missouri

2017 Summer Trip - Memphis, Tennessee

2016 Summer Trip - St. Louis, Missouri

2015 Summer Trip - Branson, Missouri

2014 Summer Trip - Dallas, Texas

2013 Summer Trip - Memphis, Tennessee

2012 Summer Trip - Dallas, Texas

Important Permanent Reminders

Don't forget to bring grade reports as you receive them.
Don't forget to bring ACT scores (and other standardized test scores) as you receive them.

Attendance Policy

Upward Bound activities cannot benefit you if you are absent. Students are allowed 3 excused and 2 unexcused absences during the Academic Year. Don't let too many absences damage your UB future. Abuse of the Attendance Policy may result in your dismissal from the UB Program.

You must submit written excuses within 2 weeks of the absence. You may bring the excuses to the next UB scheduled activity or you may mail them to the UB offices. See Contact Us info below.


Access to Tuition Funding Sources is provided for Harding University Upward Bound participants.   Approved HUUB participants will create individual usernames and passwords.  Use this source to search for scholarships and grants to help pay for your college degree! 

Never, Never, Never Give Up

For questions about access to the Tuition Funding Sources, please contact the HU Upward Bound office at 501-279-4170.

Meet our Staff

Stephanie O'Brian

Stephanie O'Brian, Ed.S., LPC
B.A. in Social Science from Harding University, Masters in Clinical and Mental Health from Harding University, Ed.S. in Professional Counseling from Harding University
Phone: 501-279-4171
Office: Student Center, room 205

Scott Palmer

Academic Coordinator
Scott Palmer
B. S. in Christian Education and Administration from Liberty University
Phone: 501-279-4118
Office: Student Center, room 205

Jessica Dunning

Services/Technical Coordinator
Jessica Dunning, M.B.A.
B.A. in Religious Studies from Appalachian University, B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Appalachian University, Masters of Business Administration from Harding University
Phone: 501-279-4188
Office: Student Center, Room 205 


For Upward Bound Alumni Only

Your Info
Current Contact Info
Permanent Contact Info
(someone that will always know where you are - e.g. parents)
Educational Tracking Data
Current Educational Status:

Degree Completion Data
Current Degree Completion Status:

If degree completed, please give us details on degree.

Upward Bound students - how you can help US help YOU!

Maintaining the funding for Upward Bound is dependent on submitting statistical reports. The UB Staff will maintain contact with students after their high school graduation until they have completed college or some other form of post-secondary education. The staff cannot remain in contact with students... if we don't know where you are. If you are a HUUB graduate please fill out the Alumni Tracking form above with your current contact info! We appreciate your help. By keeping us up-to-date on your progress you are helping provide UB opportunities to other high school students.

Contact Us

Upward Bound is a part of the Academic Resource Center


FAX: 501-279-4169

Location: Student Center, room 205
See Campus Map

Mailing address:
Harding University
Upward Bound Program
HU 12275
Searcy, AR 72149-5615