Campus News

$1.1M federal grant will help support first-generation and low-income students

UGA has received a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Education grant to help support college students from low-income families and first-generation students. The university will receive funding beginning in September, distributed over the next five years under the Federal TRIO’s Student Support Services Program.

The Federal TRIO Programs are outreach and student services programs that provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds at colleges nationwide. TRIO, named for the three programs of Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services at its original inception in the 1960s, includes eight programs that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff who oversee TRIO projects.

At UGA, TRIO includes Student Support Services, Upward Bound and Talent Search. The Student Support Services grant will provide academic development and assistance with basic college requirements to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants

“The SSS grant will fund three new full-time staff members who will be charged with providing workshops and face-to-face counseling and support for students who need extra assistance or guidance in navigating the transition to college and to put them on the right track for graduation,” said Sherontae Maxwell, the program coordinator who wrote the grant proposal.

Specifically, Student Support Services at UGA will be able to provide academic tutoring and counseling, career guidance, financial aid advising and economic literacy, dedicated computer laboratory and study spaces, social and cultural events as well as life skills workshops. Any first- or second-year student whose parents did not complete college, who has a documented psychological or learning disability, who is Pell-eligible or has an academic need and wants to succeed at UGA may qualify for the TRIO Student Support Services program.

“Since the grant is renewable every five years, we are hopeful that the University of Georgia will be considered for this support in the future,” said Earl Ginter, director of the Division of Academic Enhancement, which houses UGA’s TRIO program. “We currently have three other TRIO grants that have been active for more than two decades that focus on middle and high school students. The Student Support Services grant is designed to focus on the needs of 140 UGA students who are designated as either first generation, low income or have a disability.”