TRiO program assists those in need


Terrible. That’s just how learning the ropes of college life can be for a kid fresh out of high school who has a family that has no idea how to navigate through college.
Stress, confusion and pressure are some of the feelings first generation college students have when applying for and going to college. It’s like constructing a building without blueprints or being in a country where you cannot speak the language.
Even though getting ready for college is hard for everyone, it is more complicated for first generation and low-income students.
One program that has been helping first generation and low-income college students for over 60 years is the TRiO program.
The name TRiO represents the three main programs offered which are Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services and Child Care Assistance Means Parents in School.
The programs are designed to guide students through middle school all the way up to college graduation. They also provide assistance with college students who are parents through CCAMPIS.
CCAMPIS gives vouchers for daycares to first generation and low-income student-parents who wish to attend college.
As of now, there are about 38 children in the program, but CCAMPIS has hopes to expand.
CCAMPIS’s goal for the next two years is to have a daycare at a reduced rate or no cost at all.
Assistant director of ETS, Debbie Upshaw, was a first generation student herself. Now she works for ETS which helps junior high and high school students become informed about the requirements of college and how to get there.
Upshaw said she believes that her work in the TRiO program has made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of participants.
“This is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had because I can just see the good that we are making and the kids realize their full potential through our workshops,” Upshaw said.
Students also get mentors and workshops. Female students are able to go to a STEAM camp each summer which helps students jump start education learning in areas like science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Educational workshops, financial literacy classes, personal and career services, tutoring and social events are some benefits that TRiO has to offer.
One part of the TRiO program, student support services, is for all classifications, but mostly focuses on getting college freshmen to join. Then, those freshman can continue working with SSS throughout college.
Junior political science major, Chloe Duhon, who is in SSS, said that every semester her and her TRiO advisor set goals for her to accomplish so she can reach her highest potential in school. She was able to get recommendation letters from her advisor, receive scholarships and get work study job through the program.
“I have met and gained many friends through social events in TRiO,” Duhon said. “I can rely on anyone in the group to listen to me if I was stressed and they accept me for who I am.”
For people interested in joining or those that do not know about TRiO, Duhon said she “100 percent” encourages people to apply.
“It was one of the best decisions I made in the beginning of my freshman year,” Duhon said. “You gain another level of support from the people in the program. Everyone in the TRiO program and TRiO offices are there to help students.”
Assisant director of SSS, Mystee Burrell said that each student is different so the SSS addresses each student’s individualized needs.
Burrell has helped in the SSS program since 2015 and believes that students in the program are in a better state of mind and living compared to students who did not join TRiO.
“Environment is very important because it plays a large role on the person that you become, and the environment in TRiO is very supportive, welcoming, inclusive, and caring,” Burrell said.
Only ETS and SSS are offered through ULM’s branch of the TRiO program. There are currently 140 ULM students in the SSS.