Students from Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Monroe, Summers and Wyoming Will Continue to Receive Services from “Trio” Programs at Concord College
Athens, W. Va. - In the 1960s, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate, and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. The programs were funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the “TRIO” programs, because initially only three were launched. Currently, TRIO supports eight programs. While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Every four years, TRIO programs at colleges and universities are reviewed for continued funding based on past performance and competitive grant proposals.
Concord College has four TRIO programs, Upward Bound, Math and Science Upward Bound, McNair Scholars and Student Support Services. The first three were up for renewal and Concord received grant renewals totaling $3.5 million, which will fund them for the next four years. A total of 11 people are employed to serve 150 high school students in Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Monroe, Summers and Wyoming counties, and 20 college students.
CLASSIC UPWARD BOUND
Classic Upward Bound is designed to help high school students from low-income families excel in higher education. Quite often, low-income heads-of-households do not hold a degree. The goal of Classic Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which students enroll and graduate in post-secondary education. The program gives direction, support and assistance to the students. High school students participate in the program and receive intensive one-on-one services while becoming part of the TRIO family.
For the employees of Classic Upward Bound, it is rewarding to see the students reach their potential. “I enjoy working with the Upward Bound students and their families very much. I came from a similar background in McDowell County and would have qualified for the program as a student,” says Pamela McPeak, director of the Classic Upward Bound Program. “Many of the Upward Bound alumni come back to speak to the current students or work with the program in the summer. Over 75 percent of the Upward Bound graduates go on to a post-secondary education.”
The program received $1.7 million for the next four years, which maintains their ability to help 95 high school students living in their target counties.
All Upward Bound projects must provide instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and foreign language. The programs also include instruction in reading, writing, study skills and technology. The students are given academic, financial and personal counseling (after-school tutorials, summer programs and financial aid workshops) in addition to academic programs and cultural events (college tours, plays, trips and a six-week residential summer program on campus). Tutorial services in the academic year, as well as the summer program, along with mentoring programs help the students with their studies. Students are assisted with college entrance forms, financial aid applications and preparing for college entrance exams. They also receive work-study positions to expose them to careers requiring a post-secondary degree.
MATH AND SCIENCE UPWARD BOUND
The Math and Science Upward Bound Program is similar to the “classic” program in that it helps students from low-income families. The program focuses on strengthening the math and science skills of students. In addition, students learn computer technology as well as English, foreign language and study skills.
The Math and Science Upward Bound Program received an award of $891,664 for the next four years and is the only program of its kind in West Virginia. This program is designed to help high school students ready themselves to further their education in a math- or science-related field. The program has been successful since 1999 and serves 55 students in their target counties.
“Our economy has an exceptionally low supply of people educated in the math and sciences,” stated Darrell G. Taylor, director for Math and Science Upward Bound. “Our program encourages students to be in high demand by pursuing math- and or science-related fields in college.”
Sabrina Parker, a 2003 graduate from James Monroe High School, said that, “The past three years in Upward Bound, I feel, have truly helped me prepare for college. Thanks, “MSUB.” You're one of the many things that kept me going through high school.”
RONALD E. McNAIR PROGRAM
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Programs are designed to encourage low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers that require doctoral studies such as college teaching. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors. This program was named in honor of Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion.
The McNair Scholars Program provides academic and culturally enriching experiences to prepare undergraduates for graduate school including a research internship, seminars and workshops, interactions with faculty, and the opportunity to attend and present their research at conferences and symposia.
The McNair Program was refunded for four years with an award of $960,172. The program at Concord partners with Bluefield State College and West Virginia State College to recruit and maintain a pool of 20 students.
The McNair program has helped over 120 students in its nine years at Concord. The students conduct a research project, and participate in a research internship, attend seminars, and give presentations at conferences and symposia. To date, 20 “McNair Scholars” have earned a master’s degree, and at least 18 others are pursuing a master’s degree. Eight Scholars are currently enrolled in Ph.D. programs at institutions such as West Virginia University, Virginia Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee, University of Maryland and Xavier University.
McNair Scholar and Greenbrier County resident, Patricia Quillin, said that, “The McNair research internship has been the best educational experience I have had up to this point in my schooling. I would never have imagined I could do all that I have done over the course of the summer. It has been great to tell my family about the many opportunities that await them outside of Greenbrier County!”
Additional information about TRIO programs at Concord College is available at www.concord.edu, click on “Academics/Faculty,” then “Opportunities.”