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TRiO program obtains grant renewal

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The U.S. Department of Education renewed a $2.1 million grant for CSU-Pueblo’s TRiO program in order to continue their mission assisting lower income students achieve a higher education.

Photo courtesy of uhd.edu.

“TRiO is a federally-funded grant program that assists first-generation and low income students in gaining access to higher education,” said Michael Manos, executive director of TRiO. “This grant award will fund the program from September 2011 through August 2016. This will continue to be the largest TRiO grants, with annual funding of $435,671 per year.”

In order to receive the grant renewal, TRiO had to fulfill their four objectives. The objectives include that of the total number of students enrolled in the program, 40 percent must obtain a GED or high school diploma, 85 percent of those that have their diploma must complete a financial aid application and 80 percent must complete an admission application to a four-year college or university.

Furthermore, 65 percent of the students that are served during the project year must enroll in a post-secondary education program, Manos said.

Manos has been the program’s manager for seven years and oversees TRiO’s four programs, the Educational Opportunity Center, Student Support Services, Upward Bound and the Veterans Upward Bound Program. Students are eligible for these programs if they are a U.S. citizen. Priority is given to low income students and those that are first-generation students, Manos said.

This (TRiO) is the only pre-collegiate program in the region with the primary focus of assisting disadvantaged adults in gaining access to higher education,” Manos said. “Under this grant, we’re funded to serve 1,550 students a year. During the last few years, we’ve served around 2,000 students with our satellite offices.”

The central TRiO office is housed on the CSU-Pueblo campus, but TRiO has satellite offices at Pueblo Community College, Pikes Peak Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, Otero Junior College and Lamar Community College.

“Satellites have to help meet the objectives. They all contribute to the overall program objectives,” Manos said.

The EOC assists students in filling out their FAFSAs and obtaining student loans, as well as provide information about college and career opportunities.

“Financial literacy has been added to the list ofEOCservices,” Manos said. “The program will deliver this service through the use of College Invests Education Cents Website, group workshops and referrals toCSU-Pueblo’s one credit hour financial literacy class.”

The program also assists students to obtain college application fee waivers and acquire rehabilitation if they default on student loans.

The Upward Bound program provides assistance for high school students in completing admission and financial aid applications. This program features a summer residential program that takes high school students to social, cultural and educational events. The program also prepares students for the ACT and develops their leadership skills.

TRiO Student Support Services assists first generation students and helps them navigate through college and stay enrolled in school. The SSS also provides an educational resource center and study room with academic peer tutoring and mentoring. These programs are designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of low income, first generation students.

The Veterans Upward Bound program provides support for local vets who wish to obtain higher education. VUB assists by providing college preparatory classes at PCC and PPCC, as well as college and vocational admissions assistance and transitional and referral students.

In addition to TRiO’s services, Manos works with students by helping them discover their career path.

“I’m a big believer that the earlier students can get a feel for what career they want to go into, the less they will change majors and career paths,” Manos said. “If you’re passionate about your major and career goals it will help you throughout school.”

For those interested in the TRiO programs, contact Manos at 719-549-2457, or visit the central office in the Library and Academic Resource Center, Room 365.