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TRIO Works on the South Coast!

Coos Bay, OR – Students and graduates from federal TRIO programs at Southwestern Oregon Community College will participate in a service learning project at Washed Ashore in Bandon on Saturday, Feb. 22 as a way to show appreciation to the community for its support of the TRIO programs. For millions of students from low-income families who strive to be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college, seven federally funded programs called TRIO are making a world of difference.

Unlike student financial aid programs which help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, the TRIO programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) have been providing valuable supportive services to students from poor and working families to help them successfully enter college and graduate for over 40 years.

Southwestern received its first TRIO grant in 1992 and today has four TRIO projects serving nearly 1300 families in Coos, Curry, and western Douglas counties.  Students who participate in TRIO programs are twice as likely to enroll in and graduate from college as students from similar backgrounds who do not receive these services.

According to Dr. Arnold Mitchem, former president of the Council for Opportunity in Education, an education association which represents TRIO students, college graduates, and professionals nationwide, “These programs work because they are run at the local level, student-centered, performance-based, and non-bureaucratic.”

Today more than 1,200 colleges, universities, and community agencies host more than 2,800 TRIO projects that serve approximately 790,000 young people and adults. Thirty-five percent (35%) of TRIO students are White, 35% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 4% are American Indian, 3% are Asian-American, and 4% are listed as “other,” including multiracial students. Seven thousand TRIO students have disabilities.

TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic support in high school or assistance to re-enter high school.

The directors of Southwestern’s TRIO programs want more people on the southern Oregon coast to know about the services of these programs. They also want people to know that TRIO programs work and should be expanded to serve more students from low-income families across Oregon.

For more information about TRIO programs visit: http://www.socc.edu/sss/index.shtml or contact Michelle Benoit at 541-888-7421, mbenoit@socc.edu.