Students and graduates from Western Oklahoma State College Upward Bound and Student Support Services (WINDS) will participate in the 2016 National TRIO Day of Service on Saturday, Feb. 27 to express appreciation to the community for its support of the TRIO programs. For millions of students from low-income families who strive to be the firsts in their families to attend and graduate from college, seven federally funded programs called TRIO are making a world of difference.
Unlike the traditional financial aid programs which help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, the TRIO programs have been providing valuable supportive services to students from poor and working families to successfully enter college and graduate for over 50 years.
TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic support in high school or assistance to re-enter high school.
Today more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and community agencies host more than 2,800 TRIO projects that serve approximately, 760,000 adult learners. Thirty-five percent of TRIO students are White, 35 percent are African-American, 19 percent are Hispanic, four percent are American Indian, three percent are Asian-Americans, and four percent are listed as “other,” including multiracial students. Seven thousand TRIO students have disabilities.
Upward Bound and Student Support Services/WINDS have been at Western Oklahoma State College for over 15 years. These programs serve over 250 students annually. Students participating in the programs and their parents are eager to share their experience.
Emani commented that Upward Bound provided her with the skills necessary to enter college and become successful in high school. Tosha, graduate from the program, stated, “When taking part in a TRIO program, students gain insight on college expenses. The TRIO program helps students to work on their hard and soft skills. It also creates lifelong friendships, and helps break down barriers such as fears and trusting others. Lastly, it helps us work with others as a team.” Brittney stated, “Upward Bound has helped me get out of my comfort zone and the program pays for the ACT test several times since I can’t financially afford it.”
Heather, Autumn’s mother, stated, “Upward Bound has been an amazing life changing experience for my daughter. She is more responsible, and has the courage to try and do new things. Upward Bound has exposed my daughter to many different cultural experiences and she has made many new friends. I highly recommend this wonderful program!”
Veronica, Shon’s mother, stated, “Upward Bound has turned Shon into an outgoing person. She is able to speak in front of others. She has made her grades and future her priority. Shon is focused on working hard for what she wants.”
Mandy Carter, Snyder High School Counselor, stated, “Upward Bound provides many services to Snyder High School students including, but not limited to the following: after school tutoring, college application assistance, financial aid assistance (FAFSA, OKP, other scholarships), accountability through weekly meetings and grade reporting, communication skills, career exploration, and diversity in cultural experiences.”
Mary who was active in the Student Support Services/WINDS stated: “WINDS played a vital role in my WOSC graduation. Tips I learned from workshops, like using separate envelopes for budgeting, I still use today. The tutors were always on hand and ready to help however they could. The director and staff worked had to help me get into the dorms while I was homeless, keeping me from having to drop out, and even though I have graduated, I can always call them for advice. The TRIO program, “WINDS,” changed my life and continues to change the lives of students every day.”
Hannah said, “Student Support Services/WINDS pushed me to do my best in school and basketball and helped me to be as loving and caring to others as they were to me. I was always reminded, “if you are going to do something, do it to the best of your potential.” and “You can do anything you put your mind to.” These words will forever be stamped into my heart. I believed these statements because to my mentors within the program, there was no other option. I am proud to say I have learned so much throughout my years as a TRIO WINDS member and I would not have traded it for the world. I have left and graduated from WOSC, but I will always stay in touch with my fellow team members because they are the reason I am in a four-year university now.”
To learn more about Western Oklahoma State College’s TRIO programs and how you or your qualifying high school or college student can become a part of the programs, visit wosc.edu/upwardbound and wosc.edu/winds. Both sites include detailed information regarding eligibility, services, and who to contact for involvement.