STEPHENVILLE — For millions of low-income students who strive to be the first college graduate in their families, three federally funded endeavors collectively known as TRIO Programs are making a world of difference. Tarleton State University will celebrate National TRIO Day on Saturday, Feb. 27.
TRIO Programs will celebrate these students, public school partners, and friends throughout the Tarleton campus whose cooperation and willingness to think outside the box enabled this program to thrive even under the most challenging circumstances.
Tarleton has served almost 1,000 high school students from the Cross Timbers since receiving its first TRIO program, Upward Bound, in 1981. Currently, the program serves 95 students from nine high schools in Erath, Comanche and Bosque counties.
In 2016 Tarleton received a $1.18 million Educational Talent Search grant. ETS serves 500 area junior high and high school students from 12 schools in the region.
In 2020 Tarleton received a $1.3 million Student Support Services grant, which gave the university the last of the three TRIO programs. SSS differs from its sister programs in that it serves college students rather than middle school and high school students.
TRIO 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.
The pandemic brought the most significant disruption to worldwide education systems in generations. TRIO quickly adapted to ensure the continuity of services to all members, who are already underrepresented in institutions of higher learning. Within hours of the nation’s schools closing, the TRIO staff switched to remote learning.
The most significant TRIO pivot was the virtualization of the popular Summer Residential Program. Under normal circumstances, TRIO students live at Tarleton in June as they’re introduced to life on a college campus. This summer the students received fully stocked care packets that enabled them to benefit from both hands-on and interactive learning.