FAMU TRIO Program Secures Additional $4.9M for 2,000 Pre-Collegiate Students, Adult Learners

October 15, 2021
FAMU TRIO Program Secures Additional $4.9M for 2,000 Pre-Collegiate Students, Adult Learners

Keyaira Frost is a recent graduate of the TRIO Talent Search Program. She is pursuing a degree in respiratory therapy at Tallahassee Community College.(Credit: FAMU TRIO)

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) TRIO programs received an additional $4.9 million in federal funding to continue assisting Big Bend area students from underserved backgrounds to graduate from high school and succeed in college. 

Program Director Senovia Williams wrote a Talent Search grant request and was funded to serve 500 students from Amos P. Godby High School, Griffin Middle School, and Augusta Raa Middle School.  

“We are extremely excited for our newest addition to our longstanding TRIO history,” Williams said. “Receiving the additional funding will allow the Florida A&M University TRIO Programs to touch the lives of many more students and families within our communities. We are making dreams a reality.”

Additional funding at a glance:

$2.15 million for the Talent Search Program

$1.39 million for the Talent Search Elevate Program

$1.37 million for the Educational Opportunity Center

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 80 percent of Talent Search participants enroll in post secondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. The Talent Search grants are designed to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college.

TRIO Programs are federal outreach programs designed to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate degrees. Programs provide academic and personal counseling, tutoring, and mentoring, career workshops, information on post secondary educational opportunities, student financial assistance, and help in completely applications for college admissions.

FAMU was one of the first institutions of higher education to receive the federal funding at the inception of the TRIO programs in 1965 through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty authorized under the Higher Education Act. Collectively, FAMU serves more than 2,500 students through the federal TRIO Programs, which started as three programs, hence the name.

The TRIO Educational Talent Search Program has been funded through FAMU for more than 25 years. The continuation grant serves 776 students from Leon, Gadsden, and Jefferson counties. That includes students attending Nims Middle School, Fairview Middle School, Rickards High School, Jefferson County K-12 at Somerset, West Gadsden Middle, Havana Magnet School, Shanks Middle School, and Gadsden County High School.

The TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) program serves 1,000 adult learners in Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Liberty, and Franklin counties. Louis Dilbert and his team works to help unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program or post secondary education.

The additional $4.9 million is from the two Talent Search Programs and the Educational Opportunity grant. The program secured one brand new grant.

“Our goal is to help students understand that their circumstances shouldn’t limit their possibilities,” said William E. Hudson, Jr., Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs. “FAMU has been committed to this work for decades. Federal funding enables us to do even more.”

The three programs will be added to two other programs hosted at the University. Zaychina Nance is the director of the Student Support Services (SSS) and the Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) programs. The SSS Program is funded to serve 250 currently enrolled FAMU students in their pursuit and completion of their degree.

The UBMS Program is funded to serve 70 high school participants who attend FAMU DRS, Godby, Rickards, Jefferson County and Madison County high schools. In 2020, through her leadership, the University was awarded a $1.8 million continuation grant for the TRIO Student Support Services program.

“As a first-generation college student, it has been so rewarding helping other first-generation students through their educational journey,” said Nance, who has been with the FAMU TRIO programs for more than 20 years. “To see the pride when they achieve their goals has made my career so worthwhile.”