A Case Study Analysis of the Impact of Upward Bound on Low-Income and First-Generation Students (at a Selected Private HBCU)

Antonio C Stephens, Fayetteville State University


This case study research analyzed the possible impact that an Upward Bound Program may have on low-income and first-generation students within a pre-college TRIO program at a private Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The analysis involved current Upward Bound Seniors, along with former program participants from 2013, to examine how Upward Bound impacted its participants to complete high school and attain a postsecondary education. The researcher sought to obtain the perspectives of the participants (N=89), which consisted of two subgroups, Upward Bound Seniors (n=48) and Upward Bound Graduates (n=41), to facilitate how the individuals felt about Upward Bound’s effect on their personal and academic livelihood. Participants’ data analyses were based upon case study and survey research methodological designs through the use of an original survey instrument. The instrument was an electronic survey instrument constructed for the study. The instrument was titled Parallel Survey Case Study Analysis of Population (PSCSAP; Moffett & Stephens, 2023). This web-based design used quantitative and qualitative analysis to retrieve data from participants to determine a broad understanding of the effect of the Upward Bound program. The study was conducted during the course of the 2021–2022 academic year, along with former participants who were documented as college graduates and participated in the Upward Bound program between 2010–2013. Snowballing of former participants was used to find other former participants. Additionally, online TRIO forums, such as the TRIO and Upward Bound Alumni groups, were used, and online communities through “Facebook,” “Twitter,” “LinkedIn,” and others were employed for participant recruitment. Due to limited research-based documented data concerning the program’s impact on current participants and its influence on former participants, the data were analyzed to determine if the academic, personal, cultural, and social services offer and assist in motivating low-income and first-generation participants in the Upward Bound program. The research findings are limited to a single setting but established that the current Upward Bound participants included evidence of positive perceptions and beliefs toward postsecondary education, while Upward Bound Graduates received academic assistance and lessons that lasted into postsecondary education and beyond. Based upon selected findings, recommendations for future research to improve operations and implementation of Upward Bound programs can include a national study of TRIO Programs nationwide. Also, at the federal government level, a Bipartisan Think Tank is needed to develop methodological approaches for the support of Bi-Annual TRIO research studies and regional laboratories for first-generation postsecondary analyses of TRIO graduates and attendees impacts on economic development and standard of living. Future research recommendations for TRIO alumni include investigating mental health intervention programming with first-generation TRIO alumni. For parental involvement, future research should consider creating programming within an Upward Bound Program. In contrast, parents may be involved with their child’s learning method in a post-pandemic era. Moreover, future action research should be conducted on Upward Bound programs’ introduction of advocacy methods to teach parents to serve as advocates for the value-added benefits of the programs; therefore, parents and program supporters will be well-versed in speaking for community organizations, political leaders and stakeholders for the programs in Congress.

Subject Area

Education|Secondary education|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Stephens, Antonio C, "A Case Study Analysis of the Impact of Upward Bound on Low-Income and First-Generation Students (at a Selected Private HBCU)" (2023). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI30694260.