FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Communications
July 24, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — First-generation college students will benefit from a sizable grant awarded to Grand Rapids Community College by the U.S. Department of Education's TRiO Student Support Services program.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced the award this week of $387,564 for the first year of a five-year period.
“Students who work hard and are accepted to college deserve every opportunity to succeed,” Stabenow said. “Thanks to this support, more Grand Rapids Community College students will get academic tutoring, financial aid counseling, and other support they need to finish school.”
The grant will support the TRiO/Student Support Services program, which has been working with first-generation students at GRCC for three decades. TRiO provides these students with academic advice, tutoring, mentoring, financial guidance, counseling, and other supports needed to help them achieve their college goals. This past academic year, students in the program visited the University of Michigan, raised money to support a Haitian orphan and made a presentation at the annual Michigan College Access Programs and Personnel Student Leadership Summit.
TRiO participant Crystal Juarez graduated this spring with a 4.0 grade-point average and starts at Grand Valley State University this fall.
"My sister and I were the first in our family to attend college, so we didn't know what to expect," she said. "TRiO/SSS made the whole college process easier and presented me with so many opportunities. We went on college visits to explore transfer programs; they helped us with scholarships, and I got the chance to be part of an undergraduate research program called MiCUP (Michigan College/University Partnership Program)."
John Cowles, dean of Student Success and Retention, said TRiO/Student Support Services is a vital program.
"Students who are first generation in college need the additional supports to be successful, graduate and transfer,” he said. “This grant enables us to continue a tradition of going above and beyond for these students."
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.