Bemidji State University’s TRiO programs refunded by $2.2 million federal grant

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sept. 3, 2010) — Bemidji State University’s TRiO/Student Support Services programs have been refunded through 2015 by a five-year, $2.22-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant offers the University $444,657 in funding per year to continue its Student Support Services programs for another five years.

“Bemidji State’s Student Support Services programs offer an additional resource for students who aren’t necessarily familiar with the college environment,” said Kelli Steggall, director of TRiO/Student Support Services at Bemidji State. “We offer advising, tutoring and mentoring services, and offer a for-credit college orientation course that allows new BSU students to learn everything they’ll need to know about succeeding on campus — from how to drop a class to what student clubs and organizations are available.”

TRiO’s mission is to increase retention rates of low-income and first-generation college students and students with disabilities.

According to Steggall, there were 1,475 applications for grant funding during this cycle with 1,026 grants awarded.

“The Department of Education wants everyone on a level playing field, but does give some existing programs a benefit,” Steggall said. “We have to fill out an annual report and have to meet three objectives set by the department. We get points for meeting those objectives; those are additional points added to our grant application based on our success. So there is some advantage to having an existing program.

“Even then, funding still isn’t guaranteed,” she said. “There still are some programs who were funded that now are not.”

TRiO/Student Support Services has been in operation at Bemidji State since 1970. Participation in the program is voluntary and offered free of charge to students who meet eligibility requirements.

For more information about TRiO Student Support Services at Bemidji State University, contact Kelli Steggall, program director, at (218) 755-2504.

About the U.S. Department of Education TRiO Student Support Services Program
Through a grant competition, funds are awarded to institutions of higher education to provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements and to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. Student Support Services projects also may provide grant aid to current participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants. The goal of the program is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants.

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