Eligibility Requirements

  1. Must be a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior (9th, 10th, or 11th grader).
  2. Must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status.
  3. Must meet at least one of the two criteria below:

Be a potential first-generation college student. A first-generation college student is one whose parents or legal guardians, with whom the student currently lives, have not earned a four-year college degree.


Meet federal income guidelines. The guidelines look at both the “taxable income” (found on line 15 of the IRS 1040 form) of the parent(s)/guardian(s) that the student currently lives with, and the number of people in the household (see current income guidelines here). Any student applicant that is currently in foster care is automatically income eligible.

  1. Must have a desire to attend and graduate from a two or four-year college or university.
  2. Must show the willingness to make a long-term commitment to the program. Students are expected to participate fully and remain involved until graduation from high school.
  3. Must be currently enrolled in or have completed Algebra I.
  4. Must be able to secure transportation to all required Upward Bound events and the Summer Academy.
    (Travel assistance is provided for Mountainburg, St. Paul, and Huntsville students.)
  5. Must attend one of the following Upward Bound “target schools”:
  • Decatur High School
  • Elkins High School
  • Gentry High School
  • George Junior High School (Springdale)
  • Greenland High School
  • Heritage High School (Rogers)
  • Huntsville High School
  • Lakeside Junior High School (Springdale)
  • Lincoln High School
  • Mountainburg High School
  • Springdale High School
  • St. Paul High School
  • West Fork High School
  • In addition, students in other Springdale district schools are eligible to apply/participate if space is available

Application Process

Upward Bound normally accepts new student applications only during its annual recruitment period (October – December). Interested students should plan to attend one of the Upward Bound information sessions scheduled at their school in October and are encouraged to contact their school counselor or the Upward Bound office for specific dates and times.

Completed applications are typically due around the first week of November and students selected for the program are notified by mid to late December. New student recruitment primarily focuses on 9th graders with approximately 50-60 openings available for new freshmen each year. Interested high school sophomores and juniors may still apply; however, far fewer spots are available for 10th and 11th graders annually and are dependent on attrition numbers from year to year.

Before completing an application, students should first review the Upward Bound eligibility requirements listed above to ensure they are eligible to participate. For more information on the application process or how to apply, please contact the Upward Bound office.