Tya Cook
Tya Cook

The U.S. Department of Education recently extended funding to the University of Louisville for a program helping low-income and first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities, obtain their bachelor’s degrees.

The TRIO Student Support Services grant of $1.3 million will extend the decade-old program to 2025.

“When TRIO SSS first started at UofL, we had three goals. They were to keep students enrolled from year-to-year — called the ‘persistence rate’ — help them maintain good academic standing and make sure they graduate in six years,” said Erica LaMarche, TRIO SSS director. “With this latest funding, we will expand our offerings to help students with financial wellness and education, as well as opportunities to find a career pathway.”

The most recent TRIO SSS annual performance report from the 2018-2019 school year showed the program had a 91% persistence rate with 94% of students maintaining good academic standing. The graduation rate was 67%.

TRIO SSS serves a total of 144 students at UofL each year. The first TRIO SSS graduates were recorded in the 2015-2016 academic year and since then, a total of 115 students have obtained their bachelor’s degrees through the program.

Students who qualify for TRIO SSS receive comprehensive academic and personal support in an inclusive institutional environment. Participation is free for eligible students.

“As a first-generation college student, I felt very lost once on campus,” said Tya Cook, a junior in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences and Muhammad Ali Scholar who hopes to go to medical school. “TRIO SSS not only offered me a safe space, but also guidance through mentorship and access to resources such as free printing, graduate school visits, information sessions and more. I am extremely grateful for TRIO SSS and all that they have done to help me achieve my goals.”