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April 21, 2005

TRIO grant renewed to provide opportunities for first-generation college students

GILROY, CA - Gavilan College was pleased to learn recently that its TRIO program for first-generation college students would be renewed through 2010. Funded under Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965, TRIO provides funding for special outreach and academic support services for low-income students, most of whom are the first in their families to go to college. Nationally, students in TRIO Student Support Services programs are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who do not participate in the programs.

The Gavilan College TRIO program began in 2002 and serves 160 participants each program year. All of the eligible participants have a need for academic support. The majority are low-income individuals who are first generation college students. The program also serves some low-income students with disabilities. TRIO provides participants with academic counseling, tutoring in math and English, financial aid, a textbook lending library, visits to universities, cultural activities and a close-knit community of support.

One of the goals of the program is to encourage "persistence", that is, the continuation of education beyond the first year of college and through to completion. Another goal is to assure that students maintain strong grades with good academic standing every semester. Students are encouraged to complete a program leading to graduation with an associates degree or transfer to a university or college for a bachelor's degree. A major objective of the Gavilan College TRIO program has been bridging the "digital divide." TRIO students, most of whom do not have computer access at home, are able to check out laptops and calculators and have access to the internet to assure that they are able to use the internet for academic research, and use e-mail, word processing and other applications to complete their courses.

The TRIO Student Support Services application for funding cycle 2006-2010 was very competitive. At least 1,200 grants were submitted nationally, and only 800 grants were funded. In addition, existing grants needed to show a very strong and compelling reason to get refunded. All existing grants needed to provide data that each program met or exceeded their objectives. Approximately 75 grants at colleges across the country were not refunded. Gavilan College TRIO director Fabio Gonzalez was ecstatic that the Gavilan College program would continue. "On Friday, March 25, 2005, I received a phone call from the office of Senator Barbara Boxer and from (congressman) Mike Honda confirming that we made the list," he said.

This summer, TRIO will once again offer the Summer Bridge program to help provide a transition from high school to college for eligible students. This intensive six-week program gives students a taste of college life, and a chance to develop the academic skills that will be needed for college success. In order to be eligible, students must be low-income, first generation college students, or students with disabilities. For more information about TRIO or the Summer Bridge program, contact Fabio Gonzales at (408) 846-4981 or email fgonzales@gavilan.edu.

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Last modified: August 17, 2011
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