Student Support Services program awarded $1.2 million grant

By Staff

The University of Colorado Denver recently received $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Education for a Title IV grant for the UC Denver TRiO Student Support Services program. The program, which received a perfect score, provides academic retention services for first-generation and low-income students.

UC Denver's TRiO Student Support Services is a program that has been on the Auraria campus for more than 30 years. The program serves students from all disciplines and includes first-generation, and/or low-income and/or students with disabilities. It aids 165 students per semester, with a very high majority being both first-generation and low-income. The program is federally funded through the Department of Education.

Student Support Services is required to compete for funding for this grant every five years. In the last competition there were 1,475 applicants for Student Support Services programs - 1,026 were awarded grants for 2010-11 and the cut-off score on these grants was 95.67 out of 100 points.

"I am just ecstatic that we did so well in this competition," said Teresa De Herrera, director of TRiO-Student Support Services at UC Denver. "We have worked really hard to bring the program to the level of success we are experiencing now and I feel very proud of my staff, both professional and student staff. Likewise, I am so proud of the successes of our students. They all have shown a strong desire to succeed at UC Denver and I feel privileged to be a part of their lives and to watch as they make their dreams come true. We try to make the TRiO Student Support Services office feel like a home away from home for our students and I think that philosophy is paying off."

De Herrera said that before the initiation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), these grants ran for four years and the grant programs which scored in the top 10 percent would receive an additional year of funding added to their project. Now with HEOA, every grant is funded for five years.

"Colorado as a whole did very well in this competition," De Herrera said. "Although we do not have the official list from the Department of Education, we do know that 14 of our colleagues in the state have reported on their continued funding. Additionally, eight new programs were funded."

Said Frank Sanchez, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for student affairs, "The Title IV five-year continuation award will ensure UC Denver can provide ongoing support and guidance for so many of our first-generation and low-income college students. Student Support Services has a remarkable track record for empowering and encouraging UC Denver students to complete their undergraduate degree and excel in their chosen fields. Under the leadership of Ms. Teresa De Herrera, M.S., the Student Support Services program has become a state and national model for how these programs effectively serve a growing and diverse population of students in Colorado. This is evident from the proposal's perfect score and review."