CU-Boulder’s Upward Bound Program wants you


The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Upward Bound Program (CUUB) started in Boulder in 1981. Since then, this program funded through the U.S. Department of Education has been successfully serving Native American youth ages 13-17 from across the country. CUUB is currently seeking students from the Southern Ute Indian Reservation to apply to join the program.

The program’s current grant period allows the program to recruit approximately 103 students from targeted areas located on or near 8 major Native American reservations or communities throughout the United States including the Comanche Nation, Lumbee Indian community, Jemez Pueblo, Navajo Reservation, Pine Ridge Reservation, Umatilla Reservation, Ramah Navajo community, and the Southern Ute Reservation, targeting approximately 21 high schools.

To be eligible students must be enrolled in grades 9-11 and reside within the target areas. Prospective students must either meet federal low-income guidelines, be potential first generation college students, or both.

The program prepares students from these rurally isolated high schools for college entry and graduation. CUUB includes both an Academic Year Component and a Summer Academic Institute.

During the Academic Year students receive monthly homework assignments, ongoing academic advising, and personal mentoring from CUUB staff through site visits that occur throughout the academic year.

The summer students are invited to participate in a six-week long residency program at the University of Colorado Boulder. The program is designed to develop college-requisite competency in mathematics, reading, writing, science and academic study skills while simultaneously developing critical thinking skills.

However, CUUB does much more than prepare students for the academic rigors they will encounter in their own schools. CUUB mentors its students by hiring Native American college students (who are also CUUB alumni) to serve as Resident Advisors (RAs) for their Summer Academic Institute. RAs continue to maintain their mentorships with students long after the summer program by offering advice and insight into the educational realm.

Beyond the socio-economic and educational conditions faced by this particular population, other societal factors exist that create a harsh living environment for those in Native American communities throughout the U.S. including the reservations listed as CUUB Target Areas.

With an absence of basic services that contribute to quality of life and limited health care, the proliferation of problems such as substance abuse and teenage pregnancy, coupled with the rural isolation of most reservations and the increasing prevalence of family and community dysfunction, continue to impact Native communities in ways difficult to quantify. Such problems within the community surface within the academic environment and are also echoed in students’ ability to cope and succeed under such conditions.

There is a need for Native American youth to learn different coping mechanisms to address these concerns directly. CUUB prioritizes these needs by devoting a significant portion of the program to mentoring students by pairing them with roommates, offering counseling, and putting students into leadership courses.

It has been shown that for all of the reservation communities located in the CUUB target areas, economic opportunities are extremely limited, poverty is rampant, and educational attainment is severely low.

With so many issues prevalent in Indian Country there is an overwhelming need for increased educational opportunities in the target areas/schools and programming to address and take preventative measures to these issues.

Geographic isolation from institutions of higher education, coupled with lack of exposure to college students and graduates, may lead Native American students to make uninformed conclusions as to the accessibility of higher education. With little exposure to off-reservation environments, making the decision to leave the home community to pursue education is extraordinarily difficult at best.

Because the current conditions on Native American reservations are a reflection of longstanding trends of economic and educational disadvantage, it is the goal of CUUB to continue to provide Native American students a unique opportunity to fulfill their educational potential, an opportunity rarely afforded them within their communities.

In addition to coursework, CUUB also provides spoken word workshops, digital storytelling courses, and outdoor fitness classes to provide creative outlets for our students. CUUB encourages its students to find and pursue their passions.

Our ultimate mission includes establishing pipelines of possibility by introducing them to mentors and other young leaders who work in multiple fields, careers, and disciplines. We endeavor to help students create their own path and narrative in life.


For further information and to download an application please visit our website

Or contact the program Director, Tanaya Winder at

To top