TRIO Receives Grant to Support First-Generation and Low-Income Students

Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s 156-year commitment to support the academic aspirations of first-generation and low-income students has been strengthened by a $1.8 million, 5-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

TRIO, a program that provides approximately 250 eligible NYU-Poly undergraduate students with tutoring, academic counseling, and other activities to promote their academic success, received the grant following a competitive application process. Over 2,000 institutions submitted applications and only 51 percent were funded. Additionally, nearly 10 percent of the institutions that had previously received funding did not receive funding this year.

“It’s not a given that your proposal will be accepted, even a strong one,” noted Nicole Johnson, director of TRIO. “There are many schools competing for funding.”

Ms. Johnson credits the individualized services that students receive as one of the reasons the Department of Education accepted NYU-Poly’s proposal. For example, individualized tutoring has resulted in 80 percent of TRIO students passing the course they were tutored in. The philosophy that “we are not just a tutoring program, we are a program with a holistic approach towards servicing the diverse needs of students” is another. “Students know that they can come to us throughout their time at NYU-Poly for tutoring, academic skills assistance, counseling, and other support that will enhance their academic performance and maximize their potential for success at NYU-Poly,” says Ms. Johnson.

TRIO is a federal program under the Student Support Services Program that the Department of Education created to “provide academic and other support services to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students to increase students’ retention and graduation rates.” NYU-Poly began its TRIO program in 1978.

According to the Department of Education, students who meet eligibility criteria and participate in a TRIO program are two times as likely to graduate from college as those who meet the criteria and don’t participate.

Jimmy Li and Ari Case, 2010 NYU-Poly graduates, are two students who benefited from TRIO’s support. “When I came from high school I thought that you could learn everything in the classroom,” says Mr. Case. “In college, I quickly learned that you had to do work outside of the classroom and TRIO really helped me do that.”

Mr. Li, who is now working as a technology analyst at Barclays Capital, also found the transition to college difficult. “I struggled a lot in the first semester,” he says. “I took advantage of TRIO's peer tutoring services and my tutors helped me to regain confidence. They were dedicated to making sure I was on track.” He says what he appreciates most about the program are “the people who work at TRIO.”