Carl Sandburg College’s TRIO Upward Bound Math-Science program (UBMS) has been awarded a new five-year grant worth nearly $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education to serve area high school students working to become first-generation college graduates.

Under the grant, Sandburg’s UBMS program will receive $297,601 each year through 2027, according to a college release Thursday.

UBMS is a federally funded program that is free to participants and provides students with opportunities to pursue activities in areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It provides academic and supportive services to promote the academic success, retention, high school graduation, college enrollment and college graduation of participants.

Earlier this month, UBMS students competed in a snowball relay race, unwrapping the present, blindly drawing a snowman, creating a snowman, a pie eating contest, and an ugly sweater contest.

Sandburg’s UBMS program serves 60 area high school students from the Abingdon-Avon, Galesburg, Knoxville and Monmouth-Roseville school districts each year. Participants must be a first-generation (neither parent with whom they live has a bachelor’s degree), college-bound student and/or meet income or academic guidelines.

This is the second grant cycle for Sandburg’s UBMS program, which has been offered since 2017, the release said.

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded another grant cycle so that UBMS can continue to serve students and change the lives of young people in our area,” Sandburg UBMS director Stephen Descalzo said in the release. “Students in our community face many challenges. Our program serves as a great way to build relationships, explore career opportunities and prepare them for life as a college student and beyond. We’re excited to be able to continue to help students succeed.”

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In the most recent data set from the 2020-21 academic year, Sandburg’s UBMS program retained and graduated 99 percent of its participants, and 100 percent of participants graduated from high school with a college prep curriculum.

For more information about Sandburg’s Upward Bound Math-Science program, contact Descalzo at 309.341.5272 or sdescalzo@sandburg.edu.