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JONESBORO, Ark. — Students and graduates from all over Arkansas will participate in National TRiO Day as a way to show appreciation to the community for its support of the TRIO programs. The event will take place on Saturday, February 23, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Carl R. Reng Student Union, Third Floor, at Arkansas State University, and will consist of campus tours, activities, informational sessions and much more. For millions of students from low-income families who strive to be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college, the seven federally funded programs called TRIO are making a world of difference.
Unlike student financial aid programs that 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.
Arkansas State has three TRiO Programs: Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the McNair Achievement Program. The mission of Upward Bound is to successfully prepare potential first generation college students with economic need for education beyond high school by promoting academic development, career planning, and personal/emotional development.
According to Jerrod Lockhart, director of Student Support Services, “The purpose of Student Support Services is to provide a smooth yet successful transition for underrepresented students from high school to college and to increase their college retention and graduation rates. Student Support Services is funded to serve 175 students. Eighty-four-and-a-half percent of our program participants are in good academic standing, and 93 percent of our students persist from academic semester to the next semester in their pursuit of completing a bachelor’s degree from ASU in Jonesboro.”
Laura Kuizin, director for the McNair Achievement Program at ASU, stated that the McNair Program works with juniors and seniors in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines to conduct research with faculty mentors, present research at national conferences, prepare for graduate school and go on to obtain a doctoral degree.
According to Dr. Arnold Mitchem, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education, an Education Association that 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 of TRIO students are White, 35 percent are African-American, 19 percent are Hispanic, four percent are American Indian, three percent are Asian-American, four 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; preparation for graduate school; conducting research and presenting at national conferences; 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.
According to the three TRiO program directors at ASU, “We want more people in Jonesboro to know about the services of the TRIO programs. We also want people to know that this program works and should be expanded to serve more students from first-generation and low-income families across Arkansas.”