TRIO Student Support Services Lands $2 Million Five-Year Federal Grant

September 18, 2020


Mary Stuart Rogers Building

The Grant Will Fund Advising, Mentoring and A Host of Support Services for Approximately 250 Students

A $2.19 million five-year grant has been awarded to TRIO Student Support Services at Stanislaus State to help students who are first-generation enrollees, have disabilities or come from low-income or underrepresented backgrounds realize academic success.

Awarded in August by the U.S. Department of Education, the grant allows the long-standing program to continue providing at least 250 students annually with guidance and services, including academic advising, mentoring, tutoring, writing assistance, workshops and scholarships.

“Student Support Services ensures students know they are not alone in their college journey by fostering a support network and student engagement,” said Juanita Cruthird, program director. “We facilitate increased social, emotional and intellectual growth to help students build the self-efficacy and resilience they need to reach their educational and professional goals.”

Offered at Stan State for more than 45 years, the program is one of eight under the federal TRIO umbrella and has helped thousands of Warriors earn college degrees. As one of those students, Class of 2020 graduate Denisse Gonzalez speaks for many when she says the program helped her navigate a system that seemed intimidating at first but kept her on track academically and financially.

“There’s no better feeling than knowing you have a strong support system to motivate, guide and inspire you,” said Gonzalez, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a 3.95 GPA. “I never anticipated the major positive impact Student Support Services would have on my personal life and academic journey.”

Student Support Services moved its programs to an online format to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom meetings are held for workshops and advice, mentoring and tutoring appointments and videos have been produced to answer students’ most frequently asked questions.

Over the summer, additional advising and mentoring services were offered to help students affected by the pandemic and other events in the news, and an orientation with delivered lunches for 20 new students was held via Zoom at the start of the fall semester.

“We have to be creative in this remote environment because our program is traditionally high-touch,” Cruthird said. “We have a lot of contact with students, and we need to keep that up to ensure they are engaged and getting the services they need. I applaud the program team for doing an excellent job of adapting quickly and making sure our students are served.”

TRIO was authorized under the U.S. Higher Education Act of 1965 and named after the original trio of federal programs: Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services. Over the years, TRIO expanded to eight programs focused on improving educational outcomes for qualifying students.