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U.S. Representative Whitfield Presents Check for WKCTCs TRiO Program

U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Hopkinsville) presented a check for $250,410 for West Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges TRiO Student Support Services program Thursday, August 6.

Rep. Whitfield presented the check to WKCTC President Barbara Veazey during a presentation held on Murray State Universitys Paducah Regional campus Thursday.

The check to WKCTCs TRiO program is part of recent grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education totaling $270 million for 968 higher education institutions across the country. The grant funding continues over the next five years providing nearly $1.3 million in renewed funding for WKCTCs TRiO program.

I think we realize, and people have said it time and time again, that one of the key factors for each individual being able to utilize their full potential is an education, said Rep. Whitfield. The reason I am particularly glad to be here today is that one of the things I learned early on when I was first elected to Congress was the value of the TRiO program.

The federally funded programs provide services to thousands of eligible college students to help assure they complete a credential, graduate and transfer. Gail Bachuss, WKCTCs TRiO director, said the colleges program serves 206 students annually, having served those who are first generation students, low-income college students or those with disabilities for over 35 years.

Many of our students are unprepared and scared when they first come to the program; we have a wide range of needs and a diverse group, said Bachuss. But with this money, we can provide the services that are needed to help them be successful college students.
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Veazey said students are the ones who really matter in this grant funding. Most first generation college students are coming to the community college. And for those who have physical and learning disabilities and lower incomes, those are the students we want to lift up. And one way to do so is through transfer education, said Veazey.

Students must apply and be accepted for TRiO programs based on federal grant criteria. Once selected, students can participate in all program services for free, including mentoring, tutoring, counseling, coaching, and cultural enrichment opportunities.

TRiO staff works with students from the first day they are accepted into the program, through graduation and transfer to a four-year university.

The most amazing feeling in the world is to see our members walk across the stage in a cap and gown and receive that credential, and know they are successful, said Bachuss. And this money is what keeps us going.

In addition to WKCTC, ten other community colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and ten Kentucky universities also received TRiO grant funding.