Modern Blanket Toss participants will come from the ranks of UAF Upward Bound students. Begun at UAF in 1968, Upward Bound is a secondary education program within the UAF Division of General Studies which works with low-income, high-risk high school students who are identified as the first in their families to attend college.

UAF Upward Bound has two distinct components

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First, the program offers academic services to 160 eligible students from 10 target high schools around Alaska, five of which will take part in this project. All 10 schools’ communities are typically classified as low income with low parental education levels, high dropout rates, and low college attendance rates. One faculty member at each school is hired as an Upward Bound coordinator, who conducts weekly after school study and tutoring sessions with students. Twice each month coordinators also discuss other topics with students including study skills; test-taking strategies; standardized tests; career aspirations; postsecondary education options; financial literacy; understanding scholarships and college entrance requirements; financial aid; and planning community service and cultural events.

 

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Second, each year 50 Upward Bound students participate in a six-week summer program held on the UAF campus. Participating students have the opportunity to experience the collegiate lifestyle while also gaining tools key to successfully starting their postsecondary education. Core classes include language arts; mathematics; laboratory science; foreign languages; technology skills; study skills; service learning; and financial literacy. 

All participants take two core courses and an elective course each summer. UAF Upward Bound students also receive extensive training in academic applications of modern information and communication devices, including iPads, iTouches, and NikeFuel bands. 

Upward Bound also embraces the use of cyber-technology for distance education, a method that will be used to deliver learning content throughout this project.