BU’s TRiO receives $1.38 million in funding

For immediate release: Oct. 2, 2010

BLOOMSBURG — TRiO Student Support Services, a program that annually serves nearly 250 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania students, will receive renewed funding of an estimated $1.38 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education.

TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) provides academic, financial and personal support to low-income, first-generation and disabled students, according to Theresa Bloskey, SSS director. The goal of BU’s program, federally funded since 1997, is to increase retention and graduation rates. More than 80 percent of the students who begin the program remain in SSS and graduate from BU.

“The need is profound for the services TRiO SSS provides,” said BU President David Soltz. “This renewed funding enables us to make sure these students have the opportunities they need to be successful.”

According to Bloskey, at least 134 students meet two or all three of the eligibility criteria this semester. “One-third of the students we serve have disabilities, including military veterans,” she said. “We always have at least 80 names on a waiting list for students who want to enroll in TRiO SSS.”

BU’s TRiO SSS program offers academic advising, financial and personal development counseling, information on educational majors and career choices, individual and group professional tutoring, academic, financial literacy and professional development workshops and cultural events and trips.

“We have a team of 11 professional tutors who work with the students in small groups or one-on-one,” Bloskey said. “The team includes current and retired high school teachers, current and retired Bloomsburg faculty, a banker who tutors business courses and an engineer who tutors chemistry and physics.”

Students are required to complete goal planning within the first three weeks of the semester and meet criteria to stay on track to graduation. The ultimate goal, Bloskey said, is for students to graduate from college prepared for a profession or graduate school.

The program also includes a community service component, and students are encouraged to take advantage of leadership opportunities. “We tell the students, ‘This is a free service to you. It is important that you find an opportunity to give back,’ ” said Bloskey, who has been with BU’s TRiO SSS for 13 years.

TRiO programs began nationwide in the 1960s to provide educational access to students who are disadvantaged and who, without support, would most likely not receive a college education. Often high school students who are part of BU’s TRiO Upward Bound program return for their bachelor’s degree and participate in the TRiO SSS program, she added.

“Bloomsburg’s TRiO staff and faculty are dedicated to the students,” Bloskey said. “We believe in what we do, and we see results.”

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s TRiO Student Support Services program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal TRiO Programs. The 2010-2011 funded award is $277,076. All activities and services offered to the students in TRiO SSS are made possible through these grant funds. Announcement made in accordance with Public Law 105-78 Sec. 508.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.