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Academic Achievement

Upward Bound

Upward Bound prepares high school students for higher education. The programs goal is to give students the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to earn a two- or four-year college or technical degree by supporting academic achievement, goal setting, career exploration, and helping students choose what they want to study and what college to attend.

Each year, 104 9th through 12th graders from five Seattle public schools participate in the Upward Bound program run by the City of Seattle Human Services Department. Students are ethnically diverse and from low-income families with parents who have not received a degree from a four-year educational institution.

In addition to a free six-week summer school held at Seattle University, participants have access to the following services and activities at the Upward Bound downtown office during the academic school year:

  • Tutoring and mentoring
  • On-site academic guidance and personal counseling to ensure each student is prepared
  • Academic monitoring
  • SAT/ACT test taking preparation and waivers
  • Assistance with college and financial aid applications
  • Program incentives to earn good grades
  • Workshops/Trainings to develop personal visits to college campuses
  • Career assessments, planning and exploration
  • Access to additional opportunities, resources, such as summer job training, internships or paid jobs
  • Educational and cultural activities
  • Leadership development

This program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and additional supported with City of Seattle General Funds. It was started by the Seattle Human Services Department in 1977. Due to sequestration, the 2013-2014 annual grant award was reduced by 5% and stands at $407,523.

Eligibility and Applications

To be eligible, students must:

  • Attend Rainier Beach, Chief Sealth, or Garfield high schools and be in 9th or 10th grade
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be from families with low incomes that meet U.S. Department of Education guidelines
  • Be the first in their family to graduate from college
  • Need academic support yet show potential for doing college work

Applications are available at the counseling and career center office at participating high schools or from the Seattle Upward Bound office at 810 3rd Avenue, Suite 440, in downtown Seattle. Completed applications can be left at the high school counseling and career center office or can be mailed to the Upward Bound office. An Upward Bound counselor is on-site at each participating high school at least two days per week and can answer questions or provide help with completing the application form.

Other documents required to apply are:

  • A Social Security card photocopy
  • Records of family income for the past 12 months or calendar year
  • Recommendation from a high school counselor
  • Recommendation from a high school teacher

For more information about eligibility and applications for this program, call 206-386-1027.


For more information about this program and other Seattle Human Services Department-funded youth programs, call 206-386-1017 or e-mail


A resource available to families interested in identifying resources within Seattle Public Schools that provide academic support services

A resource to learn what Washington State Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is doing and programs and services offered for children and youth K-12

A resource to learn about additional college readiness resources and information for students and families

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.