Whatcom Community College’s Upward Bound program is a federal TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and is designed to encourage, and support 60 students in Whatcom County to complete high school, and prepare them to enter, and complete a postsecondary education program. The program serves students at Ferndale, Nooksack, and Mount Baker high schools.


To be considered for WCC’s Upward Bound program, students must meet the following requirements; 

  • Be a U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident 
  • Be a first-generation college student (neither parent/guardian has a 4-year degree) and/or meet certain income guidelines
  • Be a 9th - 12th grader enrolled with Ferndale, Mount Baker, or Nooksack Valley school districts and have an interest in pursuing a four-year college degree
  • Rising 9th graders (those currently in 8th grade) may apply and will be required to participate in the Upward Bound summer program immediately following 8th grade completion


All of the services are FREE, and a strong commitment from students/parents/guardians is expected.  

Benefits of enrolling in WCC’s Upward Bound program: 

  • Six-Week Summer Academy on Whatcom’s Campus  
  • Monthly Saturday College Planning Workshops on Whatcom’s Campus 
  • College Tours and Cultural Field Trips 
  • Year-Round Tutoring
  • SAT & ACT Test Preparation 
  • College application support 
  • FAFSA and Scholarship Application Support 
  • A 2-credit WCC college success class for graduated seniors, to help with the transition to college


Academic Year Services (September – June) 

  • A dedicated advisor who coaches students in the development and monitoring of a personalized college access and success plan, based on student’s individual strengths and dream college’s admissions requirements.    
  • Monthly workshops (10x per year) to help students prepare for college, pay for college, and manage their money. 
  • Weekly after school tutoring 
  • Assistance with college and financial aid/scholarship applications
  • Visits to colleges, museums, sporting events, parks, and more…. 

Summer Programs (June-August)

  • A six-week summer program on Whatcom’s campus designed to have students experience a college campus, and prepare them academically for the upcoming school year  
  • A six-week summer bridge program on Whatcom’s campus the summer after students graduate from high school, designed to support them with the transition to college, and learn more about the skills necessary to succeed in college  

To Apply

Students who are interested in participating in the program must be enrolled at Ferndale, Mount Baker, or Nooksack Valley school district and submit an application to determine their eligibility.

Application process: 

  1. Contact your high school counselor or Sarah Simpson to receive an application and learn more about Upward Bound.
  2. Return completed application by:
  • Dropping it off with your school counselor 
  • Giving it to an Upward Bound staff member in your school 
  • Scan and email the completed application to upwardbound@whatcom.edu
  • Fax to 360.383.3201 


The Upward Bound program is a federal TRIO Program, funded 100% by the U.S. Department of Education at $257,500 annually.