UCO receives $7.7 million in federal grants to help disadvantaged students

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University of Central Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The University of Central Oklahoma has received $7.7 million in federal grants that will benefit low-income students, first-generation college students and students who have disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education provided the university six Federal TRIO Programs grants amounting to $7,714,370, according to a UCO news release.

That amount is higher than grant funds provided to other Oklahoma universities by the Federal TRIO Programs, according to the news release.

“The Federal TRIO Programs are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds,” the news release states.

TRIO’s eight programs serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities in progressing from middle school to post-secondary programs, according to the news release.

UCO is the only university in the nation to receive grants for all six iterations of the Department of Education’s Student Support Services programs, the news release states.

“I am very pleased that the UCO has the opportunity to continue providing academic, cultural and counseling services to our students that may be facing challenges or barriers as they strive to attain a college degree,” said Barry Lofton, executive director of TRIO and GEAR UP programs at UCO. “During these uncertain COVID-19 times, Student Support Services programs are needed today more than ever. UCO’s administration understands the importance of these programs and has always provided its unequivocal support, which is appreciated.”

The grants support unique segments of Central’s student body, ranging from veteran to future teachers to those pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. 

Funding goes to programs that offer services such as one-on-one tutoring, academic and career exploration workshops, financial literacy programming, cultural activities, persistence coaching, leadership development, graduate school visits, scholarship opportunities and peer, faculty and community mentoring, according to the news release.

Funded programs include the following:

  • SALUTE: Serving America’s Leaders Using Transformative Education, which will annually serve 120 veteran students who also are low-income students, first-generation college students or students with disabilities;
  • STRIVE: Student Transformations: Realizing the Important and Value of Education, which will annually serve 140 low-income students, first-generation college students or students with disabilities;
  • SYNERGY: Synergistic Education, Retaining and Graduating You, which will annually serve 120 STEM and health sciences students who are low-income students, first-generation college students or students with disabilities;
  • TEACH: Transforming Education, Achieving Community Hope, which will annually prepare 140 low-income students, first-generation college students or students with disabilities to become teachers; and
  • TEAM: Transformative Education Achieves More, which will annually serve the social well-being of 100 students with disabilities who are also low-income students or first-generation college students.
  • LA META: Latino Americans Motivating, Educating and Transforming America, which will annually serve 140 low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities from homes where Spanish is the primary language.

The funds will be spread out over a five-year period.

Click here for more information about UCO Student Support Services.

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