A new program at OSU-Cascades is aiding first-generation students and students with financial need or documented disabilities to earn a bachelor’s degree.
The TRIO Student Support Services program launched in 2020 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant provides $262,000 annually for five years to enhance student retention and graduation rates.
To date, 60 students have been accepted into the TRIO program and campus leaders expect more participants.
“More than a third of OSU-Cascades students demonstrate financial need and 28% are first in their family to attend college — and they can struggle to stay in college,” said Jane Reynolds, executive director of student success at OSU-Cascades. “These are students who can most benefit from TRIO’s dedicated staff and services, and be more likely to progress at OSU-Cascades, earn a degree and launch a successful future.”
TRIO provides participating students a weeklong summer orientation that introduces them to fellow TRIO participants and campus life.
During the academic year, participants take a free, two-credit course devoted to student success topics; have access to academic counseling with a dedicated advisor; join one-on-one and small group peer tutoring and peer mentoring sessions; attend seminars focused on social or cultural topics; and can borrow laptops, calculators and other equipment at no charge.
Participating students are also notified of financial scholarship opportunities.
At OSU-Cascades participants also were offered eye examinations at no cost during the past year.
“I wasn’t prepared for how hard I’d find college as a first-generation student,” said Erich Barthelmes, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and energy systems engineering major. “The extra academic advising and the additional scholarships available through TRIO have really helped.”
Oregon State’s Corvallis campus has supported a TRIO program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds since 2000. The Corvallis campus also launched a STEM-focused TRIO program in 2015.