CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has raised concerns that funding has not been announced for the 2022 Upward Bound Program, despite its fast-approaching May 31 deadline.

Upward Bound is a college preparation program where high school students, particularly those from low-income families or students trying to become first-generation college students, get special instruction in a variety of subjects so they are more likely to succeed at the college level.

The U.S. Department of Education has allotted at least $250 million dollars per year for Upward Bound in the last 10 years and has funded more than 900 awards with more than 70,000 participants per year since 2017.

A number of colleges across West Virginia offer Upward Bound programs, including WVU, Davis & Elkins College, Concord University, Marshall, West Virginia State University, Salem University and Shepherd University.

Manchin fears that without the correct funding, West Virginians who want to go to college will suffer without the Upward Bound Program. According to a release, Senator Manchin has already received 45 letters from students who will be impacted if the program is not funded.

“Federal TRIO programs provide many students across the nation with the opportunity to pursue their dreams of going to college. In West Virginia, these programs are a lifeline for students who want to succeed in higher education, but may not have the opportunity to do so on their own. The Department of Education and the Office of Management and Budget should be doing their part to ensure these dreams can become a reality for students by judiciously announcing the award slate. This delay is causing significant harm not only to the programs, but the students who attend them,” said Senator Manchin in a letter to the Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

Upward Bound is one of eight Federal TRIO Programs managed by the Department of Education and provides funding to help students prepare to enter and complete their higher education degrees.