NMJC Receives TRIO Grant Renewal
7/20/2015 11:19:06 a.m. - Hobbs, NM.
$1.3 million over 5 years to fund program that helps first generation, disabled students stay in school
[Story by Kelly Farrell, Hobbs News Sun]
New Mexico Junior College will receive more than $1.3 million during the next five years as part of a federal education grant that supports low-income, first generation students and students with disabilities to help them stay in school and graduate.
U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who both represent New Mexico, announced via press release Friday that 11 New Mexico colleges were selected for Department of Education grants worth more than $3.3 million this year to help fund the program. The program includes services like personal tutoring, counseling, mentoring and financial advice.
NMJC is slated to receive $268,485 per year to help fund additional services from the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program for their eligible students. Other regional colleges included in the grant are Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and Roswell Branch with $353,084 and $220,000, respectively, and $390,463 to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Udall said in the press release that college is overwhelming for anyone and extra support for the student groups intended by the grants can be the key to success.
“TRIO grants have made a big difference for students and colleges in New Mexico, and I’m proud to support the program as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee,” Udall wrote. “These grants are an important investment in our students’ futures and our state’s economy.”
NMJC President Steve McCleery said the college has received the grant several times before, which is renewed every five years, but yearly benchmarks must be reported.
“We feel like it’s played such a vital role in the success of so many students,” McCleery said. “That’s why we keep going back and competing for the grant every five years.”
McCleery said NMJC’s longtime SSS program coordinator Gayle Abbott has done a fantastic job meeting the benchmarks and rendering support services to students, including field trips to potential transfer colleges.
“It’s just a great program to lift up and support kids that may not otherwise have those kinds of opportunities,” McCleery said.
Abbott said NMJC’s high retention rate for SSS students has ranged from 94-98 percent and she thinks the personalization of the program is part of that.
“They have an advisor, a counselor — somebody one-on-one who knows them well and [the students] know they can come and tell us what they need, and we’ll do our best to deliver that service,” Abbott said.
Abbott said the grant lasts until 2020 and will eventually total more than $1.3 million to fund the services.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or reporter@hobbsnews . com