This randomized controlled trial evaluation examined the impact of Upward Bound. Although students could participate in the program for three to four years, the study found that 35 percent left after the first year and it is estimated that another 20 percent left before they graduated from high school. Furthermore, the study only had a few positive impacts on students during high school. For example, in comparison to the control group, students in the treatment group were expected to complete more years in high school and obtain more credits in math and social studies. However, Upward Bound did not have an impact on high school graduation, in-school behavior, participation in extracurricular activities, grade point average, or credit earned in English or science. Upward Bound did appear to have some impact on postsecondary outcomes for participants. Although Upward Bound students were not more likely than control students to attend college, they did earn more credits from four-year colleges, were more likely to receive financial aid, and were more actively engaged in some college activities. Furthermore, Upward Bound had differential effects on different student populations. Students with lower initial educational expectations, males, Hispanic and white students, low-income only or low-income and potential first generation college students, and poorer performing students benefited more.
The Impacts of Upward Bound: Final Report for Phase I of the National Evaluation
U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Under Secretary, Policy and Program Studies Service.