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OJC Press Release ID: 3058

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

OJC Awarded $1.3 million TRiO Student Support Services Grant


Otero Junior College was recently notified that a grant application, on behalf of the TRiO Student Support Services for $1.3 million, was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The $1.3 million grant will be paid out over a five-year cycle to provide continued support to OJC students who are first-generation, low income, or have a disability. Students only need to meet one of the program’s requirements to qualify for services.

The recent grant award will mark the third consecutive five-year TRiO Student Support Services grant the college has received. OJC first became a recipient of the grant in 2010 and was awarded their second grant in 2015.

Todd Werner, current TRiO director at OJC, was instrumental in working with grant writer, Teri Erickson, to write and submit the current grant’s proposal to the Department of Education.

“For the past 10 years, the TRiO Student Support Services Program has been motivating and serving students so that they can successfully complete their degree requirements here at OJC. Since 2010, the program has had a major impact on more than 1,000 students. I am proud of their work and accomplishments and look forward to working with the students and the TRiO staff over the next five-year cycle,” said Werner.

The TRiO Student Support Services Program at Otero Junior College accepts 180 students a year into the program and focuses on 10 areas of support for students who are active in the program. Those areas of support include:

•    Tutoring: One-on-one and group tutoring sessions specific to coursework in which students need assistance
•    Academic Assistance: Group sessions that are designed to provide participants with information on study skills, time management and test-taking strategies
•    Academic Advising: One-on-one sessions designed to assist students in course selection, course load and progress toward degree goals
•    Financial Aid Advising: One-on-one assistance as well as group training on how to fill out financial aid forms, how to interpret paperwork and other issues related to finding financial aid for current and future schooling
•    Economic Literacy Training: Guidance in general economic literacy, such as basic personal income, household money management, financial planning skills and basic economic decision-making
•    Transfer Assistance: One-on-one assistance for participants including advising, information and visits to four-year institutions, working to ensure that credits will transfer
•    Personal Counseling: Initial assistance for crisis intervention, stress management and coping skills for participants
•    Referral Services: When staff identify specific issues with participants that could inhibit their success in college, they work to refer them to community organizations that can provide support and assistance
•    Career Exploration: Because many of the students to be served through this project do not have a solid plan for a career, seminars and individual trainings are utilized to provide information on career options
•    Peer Mentoring: Second-year TRiO participants serve as peer mentors for small cohorts of incoming students. These mentors will provide new students with their experiences at OJC and help with referrals and other concerns students may have
•    Cultural activities to help broaden students’ experiences and awareness

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Todd Werner, TRiO director, helped secure a new $1.3 million, five-year grant for TRiO Student Support Services from the U.S. Department of Education.

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TRiO Student Support Services has been a part of the OJC campus for the past 10 years. This grant ensures that it will continues for at least an additional five.