Jul 22, 2015

FVCC Awarded $1.6 Million TRiO Grant

Low-income, first-generation and disabled college students throughout Northwest Montana will continue to have access to vital services through Flathead Valley Community College TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) program for the next five years, thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


The announcement of the grant was made through U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s office.


“TRIO has given hard-working students the opportunity to attend college and be among the first ones in their family to graduate,” Tester said in a press release.


The mission of TRiO SSS program is to provide academic and other support services to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students in an effort to increase students’ retention and graduation rates, facilitate their transfer from two-year to four-year colleges and foster a climate that supports student success. Effective September 1, the five-year grant will fund TRiO services, such as academic tutoring and counseling, financial aid assistance, financial literacy, academic, career and personal counseling, disability support and assistance in applying for admission to and securing financial aid at four-year higher education institutions.


According to FVCC President Jane Karas, more than half of the students FVCC serves are TRiO-eligible, which makes the grant critical to student success.


“We are pleased to receive the TRiO grant which will continue to provide our disadvantaged students with resources and support to help them succeed in their educational goals,” said Karas. “We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education and our congressional delegation for their continued support of our students and the communities of Northwest Montana.”


At FVCC, 87 percent of TRiO SSS-eligible students are in good academic standing after completing their first years of college, and 68 percent stay in college or transfer to a four-year institution or graduate with an associate’s degree or certificate. With this grant, the college is projecting it will support the success of an additional 350 students over the next five years.


Rita Brown is among the TRiO-eligible students who has benefitted from the program. Injured on the job, Brown came to FVCC many years after being outside of a classroom setting to pursue a two-year associate’s degree with a long-term goal of achieving a bachelor’s degree. With the help of the TRiO staff and support services, Brown graduated from FVCC this May and heads to the University of Montana this fall to continue her studies in accounting.


“I am grateful for the all of the support I received through TRiO,” said Brown. “The Math Lab served as a wonderful tutoring support system that helped me get my math skills back up to speed so I could pursue a profession in accounting.”


For more information, contact Interim TRiO Director Darlene Schottle at 756-3882.