by Brittany Miller – Features Editor
The TriO program at Grand Rapids Community College has recently been awarded a $300,000 grant that will continue to fund the program that has provided academic support for first-generation students for over 30 years.
Since the 1960s the TriO program has been the source of educational support for students everywhere. This term was coined in the late ‘60s to describe the equity programs that have been federally funded for education including Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services. Reaching over 1,000 colleges and universities, and over 840,000 low-income Americans, the program continues to provide educational support in order to help students succeed.
On July 16 state senator Debbie Stabenow awarded the program the $300,000 grant for the first year of the five-year award period, funding will support the program until 2020.
For the program to receive money to continue its success is an accomplishment that has been positively recognized by Grand Rapids Community College faculty.
“I am very grateful that the TriO program has received the grant,” said John Cowles, Dean of Student Success and Retention at Grand Rapids Community College. “I wish we could provide more services and support to our students, but we are only given a certain budget for the number of students we have. I am very grateful for the TriO program and the support it provides our students here at GRCC.”
For three decades, the TriO/Student Support Services program has been working with first-generation students, as well as disabled students at GRCC. With the program comes a ‘safety blanket’ during the college experience. TriO provides students with tutoring, academic advice, mentoring, financial guidance, and counseling and support that students need in order to have a successful education, something that is not available to other students on campus.
“The program helped me find opportunities within other programs, which allowed me to experience medical school this summer,” said Selina Ruiz, a GRCC student who has been a part of the program for two years.
Ruiz said that advisers in the program assisted her with choosing the right classes for her major and helped prepare her for upcoming semesters.
“They have tried to help me find anything that will help me accomplish my goals,” Ruiz said. “The program has really done its job in terms of helping me succeed in school. I think students should participate, it’s just a great opportunity to grow and get all the help you need.”
To become involved with the TriO/Student Support Service program, students must be enrolled or have been accepted for enrollment at GRCC in a degree seeking program. Students who come from low-income families and a first generation student who may need academic support can participate in the program. For more information about Trio/Student Support Services, visit grcc.edu/studentsupportservices or visit the Student Center.