The College Success Foundation – District of Columbia, a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the college graduation rates of students in Washington, D.C., has received a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

This highly competitive grant, funded by the Upward Bound Program, is expected to support the organization’s academic, social, emotional and financial aid for middle, high school, and college students in Wards 7 and 8.

“College Success Foundation-DC joins the ranks of other impressive colleges, universities, and nonprofit institutions to receive the Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education,” said Lester McKee, the nonprofit’s director of programs.

Additionally, the grant will assist in the development of college preparatory programming, such as tutoring, college tours, admission support and scholarship identification at Cesar Chavez Parkside High School and Friendship Tech Prep Academy.

Last year, Upward Bound awarded more than $1 million in grants to Howard University, George Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Each year, the nonprofit supports more than 1,750 students from some of D.C.’s most underserved neighborhoods.

Founded in 2006, College Success Foundation – District of Columbia works to turn around the falling college graduation rates of D.C. public and public charter school students. In 2015, D.C. students held the lowest high school graduation rates among all public school students in the United States. However, during the same year, Parkside High School had a 77 percent graduation rate—8 percent more than the average throughout the district.

“Upward Bound will expand our student service reach, affording additional college and career ready opportunities for students in Wards 7 and 8,” said McKee.