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Contact: Marilynn Fryer
(517) 796-8466
August 13, 2010
For immediate release

JCC awarded TRIO grant to help increase student persistence

Jackson Community College’s continuing efforts to help students succeed received a boost this week when officials learned the College will receive a $220,000 grant per year for five years, to total $1.1 million when fully funded, from the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Student Support Services program.

The TRIO Student Support Services program is designed to help increase retention and degree-completion of low-income, first-generation or disabled students. The three primary objectives are to increase persistence rates (remaining in college rather than dropping out), increase percentages of students in good academic standing, and increase graduation and transfer rates.

TRIO grant money will assist 140 low-income students who are first-generation college students or disabled through a variety of support services: academic development advising, career exploration, financial planning and individual assistance for those transferring to complete a bachelor’s degree.

More and more people from all backgrounds are recognizing the value of a college education today and are enrolling in college courses, which we applaud,” said JCC President Dan Phelan. “This TRIO grant money will provide us with valuable resources for those who may be new to college or face challenges in reaching their goals. We hope to see even more students reaching their educational goals, whether that is going into a career or transferring on to a university.”

JCC’s budget for the grant program includes staffing support for a project director, academic/career advisor, two part-time academic specialists and a part-time program staff assistant and tutors. They will assist the TRIO students with advising, mentoring, financial literacy help, academic assistance, career planning, transition assistance and other necessary support. Students will apply and be selected based on a point system.

“We are pleased to get this support designed to help more students to succeed,” said Charlotte Finnegan, dean of foundation studies and student support.”

The history of the federal TRIO programs reaches back to the 1960s and then-President Lyndon Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty. It began with Upward Bound in 1964, the Talent Search outreach program created in 1965 as part of the Higher Education Act, and in 1968, Student Support Services was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these programs. Over the years the TRIO programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and reach more students. Today there are eight TRIO programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.