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Aug 23, 2012 10:29 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

PCC's "Upward Bound" helps first-generation students prepare for college

TUCSON- This week Pima Community College students started a new semester and for many, they're the first in their families to attend college.

Eighteen-year-old Sara Jimenez is one of those students. She's a recent graduate of Palo Verde High School and she just started taking classes at PCC this semester.

"My parents don't have a degree or anything, they didn't finish high school, so I'm the first to accomplish that," Jimenez says.

She's one of more than 250 students this year enrolled in PCC's "Upward Bound" program.

It's a federally funded program designed to help Tucson high school students whose parents have not graduated from a four-year university and who meet federal income guidelines.

"These are for first-generation, low-income students, who really want to succeed and have a commitment to education," PCC Asst. Vice Chancellor Delores Duran-Cerda says.

The program offers high school students academic, financial aid and career counseling to prepare them for college. "It really helped me throughout high school because I didn't know how to discipline my studying skills," Jimenez says.

The students stay in the program their first two years of college.

Jimenez is taking biology and chemistry classes right now and hopes to work as a dental hygienist, then earn her bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University. She credits her success so far to "Upward Bound". "The program inspired me to dream bigger and I realized I could do more," Jimenez says.

Over the past five years "Upward Bound" has helped more than 900 high school students.

For more information head to www.pima.edu or call (520) 206-4500.

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