This August marks the 50th anniversary of a law designed to assist low-income and first-generation college students. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation establishing the Federal TRiO programs under the “War on Poverty” initiatives, Aug. 20, 1964.
OCCC has financial opportunities that high school students and current college students can take advantage of with the TRiO programs, said Lathonya Shivers, TRiO programs director.
“TRiO programs are designed to help prepare high school students to go to college and also help current college students stay in college, graduate and transfer to four-year universities,” Shivers said.
Upward Bound and Student Support Services are both federal programs funded by U.S. Department of Education grants. Student Support Services began at OCCC in 2005.
Shivers said these programs are often overlooked so she makes it a point to make students aware of the opportunities available to them.
OCCC’s TRiO-Upward Bound Program serves 60 students annually for a five-year grant cycle, she said.
In order to qualify for the Upward Bound program, a high school student must meet the following criteria:
• A first-generation college student (neither parent has completed a four-year degree);
• Must meet federal income guidelines;
• Attend one of several high schools in south Oklahoma City and Moore.
The program provides tutoring, counseling and mentoring in preparation for college entrance, Shivers said.
OCCC’s Student Support Services “serves current college students and was designed to help increase college retention and graduation rates, transfer rates from two-year to four-year institutions, and to support the success of low-income and first generation college students and individuals with disabilities,” according to the OCCC website.
The SSS office also provides tutoring, assistance with financial aid and applications, counseling and transfer opportunities.
Eligible students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at OCCC, and must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• A first-generation college student (neither parent has completed a four-year degree)
• Meet federal income guidelines
• An individual with a documented disability
Shivers said Student Support Services serves 160 eligible college students who meet the criteria listed above. She said 50 percent of all OCCC students would qualify.
Applications can be found in the Main Building, areas 1T7 and 1V7, or online at www.occc.edu/Trio. For more information, call 405-682-7865.