Funding will support area teens and adults from disadvantaged populations
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (October 11, 2021)–Kirkwood Community College has been awarded over $2.5 million in student support grants from the U.S. Department of Education for two separate programs under TRIO, a federal initiative designed to provide services to disadvantaged populations. The funding will benefit 1,350 students per year with educational assistance at the college.
The larger of the two grants is designated for the TRIO Education Talent Search program, which identifies and assists middle and high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the potential to succeed in higher education. Through academic, career and financial counseling, participants are encouraged to graduate from high school and complete post-secondary education. Kirkwood is one of two colleges in the state chosen to administer the program and will receive a total of $1,386,835 in funding over five years.
The second grant is for the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program, which aims to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary educational institutions. The EOC grant is for $1,160,250 over five years to provide services including participant advising, tutoring, mentoring, preparation for GED and college entrance exams, financial and economic literacy, in addition to other assistance.
In both cases, program activities are designed for students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities, homeless students, or those who are from traditionally underrepresented groups in postsecondary education.
With the new funds, the college has now been awarded nearly $5 million since the fall of 2020, including more than $1 million for English as a Second Language students. To Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg, the success the institution has had in securing these funds demonstrates the lengths to which the college will go to achieve its mission.
“Our mission is to identify community needs and to provide accessible, quality education, which is exactly what we’re doing with these programs,” said Sundberg. “This funding will give us an amazing opportunity to have a huge impact in working with students from our area that need it the most. We can help those from underrepresented populations such as low-income learners, those with a disability and first-generation students. This is the type of support that literally changes people lives. Not every college gets an opportunity to make a real, measurable change of this magnitude in its community and I’m extremely proud of our efforts to make it a reality.”
TRIO programs have been hosted at Kirkwood for over 30 years with the goal of increasing retention and successful academic completion among disadvantaged students. Services provided include tutoring, assistance with basic college requirements, study skills development, advising, academic and career counseling, and cultural exposure among others. To be eligible to receive TRIO services, a person needs to be low income, have a physical or mental disability, or be a first-generation college student.