Northeast State TRiO Student Support Services will receive annual funding over the next five years through a renewed federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education. The grant amount apportions $270,986 for the upcoming budget year beginning Sept. 1 and continuing through Aug. 31, 2016. The grant renews each budget year for the next five years totaling approximately $1.3 million.
The federally-funded TRiO Student Support Services program is funded to serve 180 students every year through an application process. The program provides low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities the support to improve their retention and graduation rates while facilitating their transfer from two-year to four-year colleges.
“The biggest thing with Student Support Services is the heart and emotion that goes into working with the students,” said Virginia Reed, director of TRiO at Northeast State. “It is more than a job, it is watching them succeed from start to finish. It is an amazing feeling.”
The Northeast State SSS program celebrated its 30th year of existence in 2014. Northeast State’s SSS program provides services including: academic tutoring; transfer advisement, college course selection advisement; financial aid/financial literacy advisement; counseling resources; assisting students to apply for financial aid; and assisting students enrolled in two-year colleges to apply for financial aid/scholarships to enroll in four-year colleges and universities.
“A majority of students do not have college knowledge meaning they are not sure what to ask or where to find out what they need,” said Olivia Orten, a Northeast State alumna and TRiO SSS participant. “The TRiO SSS program helped me so much with my confidence in myself and my abilities.”
Orten now attends East Tennessee State University and expects to graduate next spring with her bachelor’s degree in social work. She signed up for the TRiO SSS program to get tutor help for math but discovered much bigger things about the program and herself.
“I was a special education major but once I started working with TRiO at Northeast State I saw what I really wanted to do was help people achieve like Jenny and the staff did,” she said.
TRiO SSS participants who graduated from Northeast State were equally excited for new students to enjoy the same opportunities they experienced. Northeast State graduate and TRiO participant Lindsey Mosier credited the program with guiding her through those challenging first two years of college. Mosier said the TRiO staff provided the help and encouragement she needed to achieve her goal of being accepted into the ETSU Radiography program.
“Honestly, I don’t think I would be where I am today had I not found TRiO,” said Mosier. “What the Northeast State TRiO staff is doing changes so many lives, and I am so thankful I was a part of it.”