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Educational Opportunity Centers

Educational Opportunity Centers located throughout the country primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers from families. These Centers help individuals to choose a college and a suitable financial aid program. There are 142 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 199,000 individuals. Recent analysis of performance data of the Educational Opportunity Centers found that more than half (57.6%) of "college-ready" students enrolled in institutions of higher learning and 71% of eligible EOC participants (high school seniors, postsecondary dropouts, etc.) applied to college.

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement program is designed to encourage low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors. This program was named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion. Currently, there are 187 projects, serving more than 5,200 students. According to recent performance data, in 2013-14, 69% of McNair participants who graduated in 2010-11 were enrolled in graduate school; meanwhile, 83% of students who first enrolled in graduate school in 2012-2013 persisted in their studies.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services projects work to enable low-income students to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees. Participants, who include disabled college students, receive tutoring, counseling and remedial instruction. More than 202,000 students are now being served by 1,069 Student Support Service programs at colleges and universities nationwide. Recent studies of Student Support Services found that program participation resulted in statistically significant higher rates of student retention and transfer, improved grade point averages, and credit accumulation. Program participants also bested their similarly situated peers in degree completion at both two-year colleges (41% vs. 28%) and four-year colleges (48% vs. 40%).

Talent Search

Talent Search projects serve young people in grades six through 12. In addition to counseling, participants receive information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs. This early intervention program helps youth from low-income families to better understand their educational opportunities and options. More than 312,000 students are enrolled in 473 Talent Search TRIO projects. According to the more recent data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, 80% of Talent Search participants enrolled in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound (UB) is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. Campus-based UB programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. UB also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms. More than 70,000 students are being served by 956 Upward Bound projects. Recent analysis from the U.S. Department of Education showed that 86 percent of Upward Bound students in the 2013–14 high school graduation cohort enrolled immediately in college following high school graduation.

Upward Bound Math-Science

Using a similar model to Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science provides students with a rigorous math and science curriculum in high school to encourage and enable them to successfully major in critically important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines in college. Currently, there are 211 projects serving more than 13,100 students. Indeed, 70% of Upward Bound Math-Science programs have postsecondary enrollments of 80% or higher.

Veterans Upward Bound

The Veterans Upward Bound program provides intensive basic skills development and short-term remedial courses for military veterans to helps them successfully transition to postsecondary education. Veterans learn how to secure support from available resources such as the Veterans Administration, veterans associations, and various state and local agencies that serve veterans. There are 64 Veterans Upward Bound projects serving more than 8,400 students. According to the National Association of Veterans Upward Bound Program Personnel, in 2010-2011, more than 60% of recent program participants were enrolled in postsecondary education programs.


The Pell Institute does not administer or collect data on Pell grants; however, since we often receive queries we have provided the information below as a resource.

For more than 30 years, the Federal Pell Grant program has served as the federal floor of support for needy students. Created in 1972 and originally named the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, the program was renamed in 1980 for Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI), to honor his efforts in creating the program.

Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students who are citizens or eligible non-citizens. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 6,000 participating postsecondary institutions. The grants do not have to be repaid. Grant amounts are dependent on the student's expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attending the institution, whether the student attends full-time or part-time, and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less. The maximum award amount is set by the U.S. Congress, and the program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Please visit the Department of Education for additional information about the Federal Pell Grant Program, including programmatic information for students, parents, and others who may be interested.