TRIO program offers assistance with continuing education
In the Fall of 2016, BC was awarded a grant by the Department of Education to implement the Educational Opportunity Center which is a federal TRIO program. This year, the program has started extending help to students in need. According to their site, this program is intended “to provide counseling and information about the college admission process to adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education.”
The BC TRIO program started in the 60s and there are several programs within TRIO. BC currently has four TRIO grants. One is for the Educational Opportunity Center and the other three are upward based grants that are based out of three high schools in Broward County.
“It’s actually a very competitive grant and you have to apply. Our incredible grant department submitted the application and we were able to win these grants,” said Joevania Alexandre, the Interim Director for TRIO at BC.
In order to maintain the grants, there are certain objectives that have to be met. The people in the program must show the capability of meeting certain goals and how reaching those goals will impact the community.
“For example, with our Education Opportunities Center grant, we committed to helping 1000 participants in the community. We have exceeded our 1000 participant goal,” saidAlexandre.
The program wants to help by exposing those in need to postsecondary options by assisting with college applications and transfer applications.
“If they do not have a high school diploma or GED that is the first step, helping them to get that so that they could apply to colleges or technical programs,” she said.
These programs are geared primarily toward first generation low-income individuals. Since the grant is only based out of BC, it is for the community, to help people get to college. It is not only for BC students. Once individuals are in college, the program is able to assist with even more tasks such as completing the FAFSA and scholarship applications. During the first year, they visited many BC classes in order to spread the word and maintain their 1000 participant goal to retain the grant.
The BC TRIO program also visited every First Flight that the college hosts to expose students to the resources.
“We were able to help them prepare for college by informing them about financial aid, some of the misconceptions and just things that students are sometimes unaware of,” Alexandre said.
The BC TRIO program also does presentations and workshops on credit, financial literacy, budgeting and credit building. They go to high schools and community events to spread information about college finances.
“Right now our goal is [to keep] the 1000 applicants. We have the grant for 5 years so the first goal is to keep the grant,” Alexandre said.
They hope for the program to grow so that they can not only impact the individuals at BC, but also more individuals within the community. They also want to help individuals build a legacy for them and their families by providing them the tools necessary to get to college.
“Especially for students who don’t have anyone in their family who have been through this so who is there really to help them complete a FAFSA or a college application?” she said.
She also specified that they are assisting people and helping people go to any college of their choice, not just BC.
“We have an incredible opportunity to make a difference and we are hoping to reach and impact as many people in our community as possible,” Alexandre states.
For assistance, more information, or to fill out an application, go to the website http://www.broward.edu/trio-eoc.