TRiO provides services for some disadvantaged students

Char Telkamp

Char Telkamp

Will you be the first person in your family to graduate from college? Do you worry that a documented disability will have an impact on your being successful at college? Will your family’s limited income effect your college success?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, than TRiO may be the place to help you onto the road to success.

“Many students dream of going to college,” TRiO Director Jeff Maras said. “But some face more barriers in this pursuit than others. In light of this TRiO was formed to increase access to higher education for all individuals.”

A federally funded grant program, TRiO emerged from the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act. SDSU received a grant to implement its first TRiO program, Student Support Services (SSS) in the summer of 2001.

To qualify for participation in SSS, students must meet one of three criteria: be first generation students (with neither parent having a baccalaureate degree); have a documented disability; or be from an economically disadvantaged family.

TRiO has had a successful first year at SDSU according to Maras. The program’s retention rate goal was set at 75 percent, it achieved 84.8 percent. In academic performance the goal was to have 75 percent of students in good academic standing at SDSU. Last year, 92.2 percent of SDSU TRiO students were in good standing.

The SSS program uses a variety of strategies that make it possible for students to improve their academic performance and develop effective life skills. “TRiO made my freshman year less stressful and, all together, they familiarized me to the university,” Brad Thiele, Sibley Iowa, TRiO participant said.

A student Advisory Board was formed this spring to help with program evaluation and enhancement. The 10-member board, having participated in TRiO programs and services, are offering new ideas and recommendations to enhance program services and suggest activities to meet the changing needs of SSS participants.

In addition, TRiO has formed a peer advisory program. Upper class TRiO participants would be paired with new incoming students.

These peers would than be available to offer assistance in learning where classes were, how to use the library, where to study and other areas.

“One of the things I’ve learned talking to my students,” Maras said. “They feel intimidated by the environment, and how to move through the system.”

“I think the biggest adjustment college students have to make is getting used to being on your own,” Holt agrees. “Sometimes it takes a while for students to realize that they have to start making decisions that will be positive towards their future.”

The TRiO program at SDSU is located on the first floor of the admissions building on campus. Anyone interested in more information or applying to the program can stop in or check out the TRiO web-site at: Services/

“TRiO is open to 150 students each semester at SDSU,” Maras said. “We have a revolving door policy, each semester we have 20-25 open seats available.”