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TRiO helps students adjust to college life

The costs of college and the fear that comes with being a first generation college student can be too much for some to handle alone.

Students with academic needs, first generation college students, the economically disadvantaged and those with physical or learning disabilities are encouraged to check out what the TRiO services have to offer.

“TRiO is a program funded by the federal government to help at-risk college students,” Linda Reeves, staff technician, said.

Established by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, TRiO is a program funded by the federal government that was brought to TJC in 1997.

For the past 12 years, the TRiO services on campus have helped many students who met the criteria.

TRiO stands for touching lives, reaching out, increasing knowledge, and opening doors, which are the main purposes of the program.

This service expects students in the program to stay in college, graduate from a two-year school and/or graduate from a four-year university.

One main goal of TRiO is to help students “be successful here and to go to a senior college and be successful there,” Reeves said.

The program only accepts 200 students per semester at TJC and is still accepting applications to fulfill the amount of students this semester.

Once a student has been accepted to the program, they remain in it until graduating from TJC. After transferring to another school, a student can re-apply for a service similar to TRiO.

Joseph Grier, career transfer advisor, who is beginning his first month with the TRiO services, said, “the program has a lot to offer.”

Specific services include a computer lab with convenient hours and no print limit, tutoring, campus visits, cultural events, etiquette meals, skills workshops including transferring information, budgeting and scholarship help. Although these services are popular, the most popular service is loaning books to students.

Loaning books “is a really big help,” TJC student Yvonne Gutierrez said.

With the cost of books increasing, this specific service can be helpful to students in financial need.

The TRiO services “really want students to be involved,” Gutierrez said.

Students who benefit from this program are also required to help in the community. While TRiO is giving to these students, they are returning the generosity by completing at least 16 hours of community service per semester.

“Many students work with their churches or their children’s schools,” Reeves said.

Students also work with other organizations on campus such as Make-A-Wish foundation, student government, or the Center for Student Life and Involvement office.

Others volunteer for the Literacy Council, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and other non-profit organizations. TRiO also adopted a stretch of Highway 110 between Tyler and Whitehouse to keep them clean as well.

As a new staff member of TRiO, Grier “hopes to build trust” with students this semester.

Any interested student can get an application from the TRiO services office located on the 3rd floor of Rogers Student Center.

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