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Victoria College awarded federal grant renewal, KEY Center to continue serving students

Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.

About the grantThis grant, offered by the U.S. Department of Education, is part of what is known as TRiO - a set of college opportunity programs designed to provide motivation and support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuit of a college degree. Each year, more than 850,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities ranging from sixth grade through college graduation are served by more than 2,800 programs nationally. TRiO programs provide direct support services for these students, and relevant training for directors and staff.

TRiO programs were the first national educational programs that addressed the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. Previously only college financing had been of concern to policymakers. TRiO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.

In order to enhance and continue its existing Student Support Services Program, Victoria College was recently awarded its third TRiO grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Grant funds will continue to support the program for an additional five years beginning in September and ending in August 2015. Each year the program will receive about $255,505, for a five-year total of $1,277,525.

Specifically, this funding will continue to support the KEY Center, which admits up to 160 qualifying students each year. Students who qualify as members are low-income, first-generation or who have a documented disability. The center provides specialized services meant to ensure that students with these challenges stay in college and successfully reach graduation or transfer to a university.

Services include tutoring, academic advising, financial aid assistance, financial and economic literacy education and assistance with transfer to a university, along with personal, career and academic counseling services. Additionally, members may take advantage of career exploration assistance, mentoring and exposure to cultural events and other enriching academic programs.

"Our area especially has many first-generation, low-income students who qualify for this program," said Florinda Correa, VC's vice president of student services. "Over the years that the KEY Center has been at VC, these services have been instrumental in the graduation or transfer of the students who participate."



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