TRIO - Upward Bound

Guiding High School students to be successful college graduates & Future Leaders

Iowa Lakes Community College TRIO Upward Bound is a free college access program sponsored by Iowa Lakes Community College.

We provide support and guidance to students to ensure success in high school as well as post-secondary education enrollment and graduations.

TRIO Upward Bound is a grant-funded program from the United States Department of Education. Upward Bound grant funding for the 2020-21 academic year is $297,601.

TRIO Upward Bound provides 60 eligible 9th-12th grade students with services that support successful completion of high school and assist with post-secondary exploration and enrollment. TRIO Upward Bound is designed to educate students so that they can navigate the pursuit of higher education.

Our focus is to encourage and assist students in reaching their academic and personal goals in high school and enrolling in a post-secondary school of their choice.

Participants receive assistance with career and college exploration, the college application process, financial aid application, college entrance exam preparation, and writing scholarship application essays.

Students also receive instruction in financial literacy, leadership skills, study skills, test-taking skills, transitioning from high school to college, and improving self-esteem. Students participate in FREE college campus visits, cultural enrichment opportunities, workshops, weekly academic assistance, and an optional six-week college experience summer program.

Upward Bound Objectives

TRIO Upward Bound participants will have a cumulative gpa of 2.5 or above.

TRIO Upward Bound Seniors will have achieved at the proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math.

TRIO Upward Bound participants served during the project year will continue in school for the next academic year, at the next grade level, or will have graduated from secondary school with a regular secondary school diploma.

Current and prior year TRIO Upward Bound participants will complete a rigorous secondary school program and graduate with a regular secondary program.

TRIO Upward Bound participants will enroll in a program of postsecondary education by the fall term immediately following high school graduation or will have received notification, by the fall term immediately following high school, from an institution of higher education, of acceptance but deferred enrollment until the next academic semester (spring).

TRIO Upward Bound participants who enrolled in postsecondary will attain either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within 6 years following graduation from high school.

Schools Served & Who Can Join Upward Bound

Schools Served

Students who attend the following schools that are in 9th - 12th grade: 

Emmetsburg High School

Estherville Lincoln Central High School

Spencer High School

Who Can Join Upward Bound?

To qualify for TRIO Upward Bound, a student must have the intent on transferring to a 4-year college or university and meet one of the following qualifications listed below:

  • Neither parent nor student has graduated from a 4-year college or university and/or,
  • The family meets our federal income guidelines, based off of the family’s TAXABLE income level.
Program Details

The Iowa Lakes Community College TRIO Upward Bound Program offers many different opportunities focusing on the student’s success in high school. TRIO Upward Bound also assists with successful transition into postsecondary programs. All services are FREE to TRIO Upward Bound participants.

Academic Year Services

Students attend weekly Study Labs at the Iowa Lakes Community College campus closest to their high school during the academic year and receive a stipend for attending study labs! It pays to participate! 

During Study Labs, students can receive educational assistance and develop their academic skills and personal strengths. All students have access to, a 24/7 tutoring platform with professional tutors who can assist students in over 180 different subjects.

Students also have access to, a website students can use to explore career options through assessments, a day-in-the-life videos, educational requirements, job outlook, and  more.

Throughout the semester students can participate in cultural enrichment activities, typically held on a Saturday. Activities include college campus visits, academic/career workshops, theatre productions and a variety of cultural events.

Summer Academy Program (optional)

The Summer Academy program simulates a college living experience. It is a six-week residential (Monday-Friday) program held on the Emmetsburg Campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.

During the day, students are enrolled in high school-level classes, which help strengthen their skills in math, science, foreign language, literature and writing. Additionally, students take courses in career and college exploration, life skills, financial literacy, and art.

In the evenings, students participate in cultural, social and enrichment activities.

The Summer Academy program ends with a Big City Trip, where students experience city life and discover metropolitan areas.

Students participating in the Summer Academy program receive a stipend while participating.

Meet our Staff
Trudy Ahrens
Trudy Ahrens
TRiO Director
712-852-5302 Ext: 5302 | tahrens@iowalakes.educreate new email
Emmetsburg Campus
Nicole Heng
Nicole Heng
Upward Bound Manager/Career Coach
712-852-5367 Ext: 5367 | nheng@iowalakes.educreate new email
Emmetsburg Campus