TRIO tries helping University students reach educational goals

Matt Nye and Matt Nye

The University offers programs for students who are struggling or looking for help obtaining a Ph.D.

TRIO is a federally-funded college opportunity program that motivates and supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The TRIO programs originated because of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty and the Higher Education Act of 1965. There are eight programs; the University has four, including Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement, Educational Talent Search and the Upward Bound program.

Sidney Childs, executive director of TRIO, has been with the programs since 1992.

“The Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs are for middle and high school students to be exposed to pre-college programs,” Childs said. “Those programs help younger students with financial aid, tutoring, academic assistance, and they say the earlier you start the more successful you’ll be.”

Sidney said the Student Support Services provides help for students with disabilities. They provide educational activities, have academic advising, and also offer free tutoring.

“We try to create an experience where students can take advantage of a smaller part of the campus,” Childs said. “We try to get students to reach desired goals, monitor your progress and push for a full experience at this University.”

Junior Destiny Skipper said the Student Support Services makes sure everything is going well with its students and gives out scholarships to pay for books.

“It provides a personal adviser and is flexible on the hours they can meet with you,” Skipper said. “It’s a great experience that provides a wide range of services.”

Tiffany Davis, assistant director of TRIO, is in charge of the McNair Scholars Program, which started in the summer of 2008. Twenty-five students are enrolled in it, she said.

“It’s a federally funded program that aims at students having the desire to obtain a Ph.D.,” Davis said. “It’s aimed at low-income, first generation students and have to be U.S. citizens.”

Davis said the students apply during their sophomore and junior years and are in the program for two years. The services they provide are academic advising, one-on-one tutoring for any class, graduate school visits, and assigned a faculty mentor to help with the Graduate Record Exam.

Terrie Cook works for the Upward Bound Program and said it is a pre-college enrichment program with free services targeted at families with low incomes.

“Our goal is to increase post-secondary education,” Cook said. “There is academic advising, help with financial aid, and preparation for the ACT.”

This program is for the high school students in Toledo with a 2.0 GPA or better.

“I’ve been through this program myself, so I’m honored to head it now,” Cook said.

TRIO, which has been together for 40 years, has certain goals to meet to keep the programs up and running.

“There are certain benchmarks that have to be met, like so many people have to succeed from each program and if we don’t reach the benchmarks, they have the right to reduce the funding they give out,” Childs said. “Our main goal is trying to track and journey our students to be successful.”