RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Colleges across Virginia will get $6.2 million in federal funding for programs designed to help underserved students access higher education.
The funding will go to support Upward Bound programs, which help prepare “low-income and first-generation high school students” as they go through the college application process.
“All students deserve access to the resources they need to succeed,” Virginia senators Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) wrote in a joint statement. “This represents another critical investment in leveling the playing field so that more students have the tools to reach their goals and get ready for life after high school.”
Recipients in Central Virginia include Virginia Union University in Richmond and Virginia State University in Ettrick.
VSU’s program, which received $451,377, serves the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg, as well as four surrounding counties. The funding will go towards “summer residential programs.”
VUU got $444,616 for “Saturday supplementary education, summer residential components, and Individualized Academic Plan creation,” which serves Richmond’s five high schools.
Senators Warner and Kaine, alongside dozens of others, called for the program to receive a funding boost in a letter sent last July to the subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Education.
But while Kaine and Warner celebrated the grants, some advocacy groups said the funding wasn’t enough.
“While the 3.8% increase for [the program] is a step in the right direction, it is, nonetheless, a disappointment,” the Council for Opportunity in Education wrote in March.
That 3.8% increase is unlikely to allow the expansion of Upward Bound programs to new schools, and, given the high rate of inflation, may barely be enough to allow the institutions to maintain their current offerings.