UW-Stout News Story

Federal TRIO programs prepare students for college, beyond

March 29, 2012

Elizabeth Schroeder is a freshman at UW-Green Bay, but her road to college began a long time ago — as a sixth-grader in a program offered by University of Wisconsin-Stout.

That’s when she began taking part in Educational Talent Search, a federally funded program for students in grades six through 12.

Schroeder spent seven years in ETS at UW-Stout. It helped her start thinking early on about going to college and prepared her to take the big step when she graduated from Menomonie High School in 2011.

“It really helped having someone go through it step by step with me,” Schroeder said of ETS college preparation activities. “Getting help applying to colleges and filling out the (federal financial aid form) was definitely useful. I also really enjoyed being able to go on campus tours.”

ETS is one of four TRIO programs at UW-Stout. The others are ASPIRE Student Support Services, McNair Scholars Program and Upward Bound. They have a combined annual budget of $1.33 million and serve about 1,200 primary, secondary and postsecondary students a year.

TRIO is a set of eight federal educational outreach programs that seek to motivate and support students from underrepresented groups, such as first-generation college students. Students must meet income criteria to participate.

TRIO programs are run by the U.S. Department of Education. National TRIO Day was celebrated recently.

Since the 1960s TRIO has helped make college a reality for many students, like Schroeder, who otherwise might not have gone or considered it.

“Liz is an exceptional student and one we are certainly proud of. She was very involved in our program as a junior, attending multiple campus visits and ACT prep activities,” said Carolyn Mertz, ETS director at UW-Stout.

“We were sad to see her graduate from our program this past June, but she has been part of some outstanding things at UW-GB and we are excited to see what her future holds,” Mertz said.

ETS, which also provides career exploration and academic support, has been funded at UW-Stout since 1988. The program works with 700 students a year from the Menomonie and Wittenberg-Birnamwood school districts and has an annual budget of $296,000.

For more information, go to http://www.uwstout.edu/ets.

ASPIRE Student Support Services

Since 1986 at UW-Stout, ASPIRE has helped college students succeed.

Participants receive services in college study skills and adjustment; career exploration; individualized academic advisement and writing support; peer support; and numerous cultural opportunities.

ASPIRE serves 430 UW-Stout students a year through two grants with a combined annual budget of $560,000. One grant is specific to students with disabilities.

“The goal of all of the staff in Student Support Services is to begin to build relationships with our students as new freshmen and help them get off to a successful start,” said Sharon Franklin, director of UW-Stout ASPIRE. “As challenges arise we are here to help students access the most appropriate services, feel a sense of community and have a home base of support.”

Chang Mee Yang, of Wausau, a senior majoring in early childhood education, said “ASPIRE has been a part of my support system since the first day I came to college. They have helped me with everything from personal problems to signing up for classes. The staff here is very friendly and they will do their best to make sure you succeed.”

For more information, go to http://www.uwstout.edu/services/aspire.

McNair Scholars Program

Since 2009 at UW-Stout, the McNair Scholars Program has encouraged and prepared students for doctoral study and to pursue careers in college teaching. The program provides research opportunities and faculty mentoring.

McNair works with 25 students a year and has an annual budget of $220,000. The director is Richard Tafalla. Go to http://www.uwstout.edu/mcnair.

Upward Bound

Since 2007 at UW-Stout, Upward Bound has helped students in grades 9-12 prepare for higher education. It serves 50 students from four high schools in Dunn County: Boyceville, Colfax, Elk Mound and Menomonie.

Advisers meet weekly with students to check on grades, homework and course selection. Tutoring is offered after school. Students meet one Saturday a month as a large group for educational and cultural activities, and there is a six-week Summer Academy at UW-Stout.

At the academy, participants receive instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science and a foreign language, visit other college campuses and spend a week at an environmental camp.

Upward Bound also provides intensive support as participants prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid and scholarship forms. Last fall, 84 percent of Upward Bound seniors attended postsecondary education.

Upward Bound, directed by Julie Bruggenthies, has an annual budget of $250,000. Go to http://www.uwstout.edu/ub.

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