First generation college students are sometimes clueless about what to do, who to talk to, and anything related to getting adjusted to the college life. Now, they have someone to relieve a little bit of their uneasiness and stress.

TRiO (an acronym for Touching lives, Reaching out, Increasing knowledge, Opening doors) was created in 1997 by a grant from the Department of Education.

“Our purpose is to assist with success here, so that students can be successful at their four-year university when they transfer,” Staff Technician Linda Reeves said

A lot of students are ill informed about the aid the program offers students. In fact, many students don’t even know the program exists.

Located on the third floor of Rogers’ Student Center, the TRiO office employs a staff whose duty is to make the college transition as smooth as possible for the students.

The program is available to any first-generation college student whose parents have not received a bachelor’s degree, any student with an academic or educational need, any economically disadvantaged student, or any student with a physical or learning disability.

“If they’ll take advantage of it and use it, it’ll be very helpful,” Reeves said about the program.

The program is designed for students pursuing a four-year degree. The program allows students to participate for up to three years. Students who qualify must attend two seminars each semester that are focused on life, study, and time management skills.

Participants are required to take part in 16 hours of community service, which “can’t be cutting your uncle’s yard,” according to Reeves.

The staff and technicians involved in the program watch TRiO participants’ grades, help set up study groups, and arrange campus tours at four-year universities to see which schools match students best after TJC.

“Most universities try and put their best pictures on their web site. But with our tours, we try and let students see what school is right for them,” Career Transfer Advisor Joseph Grier said.

TRiO works with every department on campus and allows its participants to engage in more tutoring than the average student.

TRiO has been a big help to me. I thank everyone on the staff for making my life so much easier,” sophomore program participant Justin Yordy said.

TRiO also offers a book loan program for the students who are pursuing a four-year degree allowing the use of books purchased by the program as long as they are returned in good condition.

“We help students realize that education is priority. If students take advantage of what TRiO has to offer, they will succeed and go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree anywhere they want,” Grier said.

The TRiO office hours are 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday.

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