CLEVELAND -- AT&T has announced it will make a $200,000 contribution to support the Upward Bound program at Case Western Reserve University.

The program helps prepare low-income and potential first-generation college students for success following high school studies.

Founded in 1966, Upward Bound has been named one of 47 recipients that will share in $10 million from AT&T's Aspire program. Aspire is one of the largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.

High school students who attend any one of four Cleveland public schools, grades nine through 12, are eligible for participation in the Upward Bound program. The program is year-round and includes a six-week summer residential component and an academic year component.

"Keeping our teenagers in high school and preparing them for success after graduation benefits our students and our communities," said Tom Pelto, president of AT&T Ohio. "The Upward Bound program has a proven graduation strategy that is helping at-risk youth stay in school and succeed academically. We are proud to support this program."

Students who drop out of high school are almost twice as likely to be unemployed than high school graduates and they earn far less money. Studies also cite those that drop out are eight times as likely to be incarcerated, and far more likely to require public assistance such as housing subsidies, food stamps, and utility assistance