Trio Works in Yuma & La Paz Counties

Students and graduates from Arizona Western College’s TRIO programs will participate in the 2017 AWC TRIO Day of Celebration on Wednesday, April 26th to express 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. The AWC TRIO programs will be celebrating this year’s TRIO Day with activities for youth and adults at the Arizona Western College – Yuma Campus. The location address is 2020 S. Avenue 8E, Yuma, AZ. 85366. 10th graders from throughout Yuma and La Paz Counties will participate in a day full of activities that focus on how to navigate college life and responsibilities. Additionally, we will have a meet-and-greet from 10:50am – 11:40am in the 3C Schoening Center South Wing.

Unlike student financial aid programs which help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, the TRIO programs have been providing valuable supportive services to students from low-income and working families to successfully enter college and graduate for over 50 years.

Arizona Western College has been the recipient of three TRIO grants for both pre-college and college level students for over 25 years! Talent Search and Upward Bound are pre-college programs. Talent Search works with almost 600 students per school year and focuses on low-cost, early intervention, working with students deemed to have “college potential” in grades 6 – 12. Students receive information and assistance in applying for college admission, scholarships, and various student financial aid programs. Upward Bound works intensively with a small cohort of high school level students and prepares them for higher education through various enrichment courses. Campus-based UB programs provide students with instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and summer. UB also provides intensive mentoring and support as students prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admissions applications, financial aid, and scholarships. The Student Support Services program (now known as the KEYS Program) is celebrating its 26th year at AWC. The KEYS Program serves about 240 students per school year by offering academic support services including course selection, financial aid and scholarship guidance, career exploration, cultural enrichment, personal development and coaching, and assistance with graduation and transferring to vocational or university-level programs.

RIO 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.

Today more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and community agencies host more than 2,800 TRIO projects that serve approximately 760,000 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.

We invite the Yuma and La Paz communities to come interact with our current TRIO students and alumni guests by participating in educational activities, learning more about education resources available to the community and celebrating as we continue to support Yuma & La Paz residents in meeting their educational and career goals.

Background on the TRIO Programs

What is TRIO?

TRIO is a set of federally-funded college–based educational opportunity outreach programs that motivate and support students from low-income backgrounds – including military veterans and students with disabilities. Currently serving nearly 760,000 students from middle school through post-graduate study, TRIO provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary to promote college access, retention, and graduation. TRIO students come from families that earn less than $36,000 a year and/or in which neither parent have earned a college degree.

Where did TRIO come from?

The TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. (Previously only college financing had been on policymakers’ radar.) TRIO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968. Together, this “trio” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students. By 1998, the TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs have grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math/Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

Why Are the TRIO Programs Important?

The TRIO programs help first-generation, low-income students overcome social, cultural, and academic barriers to succeed in higher education. By providing direct services and individually focused and intensive programming geared towards helping students navigate the college admissions and financial aid process, TRIO programs assist students in overcoming the obstacles they face as the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Today, an estimated 5 million students have graduated from college with the support and assistance of TRIO programs across the country.

Laura Shepherd
Academic Success Advisor
Arizona Western College

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