SFCC supports student success with new TRIO grant

College will receive $275,105 from U.S. Department of Education annually for the next five years

Santa Fe Community College received a new $275,105 TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education aimed at helping increase the number of low-income college students, first-generation students and those with disabilities to complete an SFCC two-year degree and transfer to a four-year college or university. The award amount is for the first year but is expected to be renewed each year for five years.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich said, “Santa Fe Community College does incredible work helping low-income and first-generation students and those with disabilities successfully pursue their higher education. The student support services provided through the TRIO program are critical to keeping these students engaged from enrollment through the completion of two-year degrees and the transfer process to four-year institutions. I am proud to support this critical, long-term federal funding support that will allow SFCC to continue building on its success.”

TRIO SSS serves low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities. Of the 3,689 degree-seeking students enrolled at SFCC in Fall 2019, 2,769 (75%) meet the SSS eligibility requirements for project services. Of the eligible students, 409 (11%) are both low-income and first-generation college students, 821 (22%) are low-income students, 1,499 (40%) are first-generation college students, and 45 (1%) are students with disabilities. The project will provide TRIO Student Support Services up to 160 students per year. For more information see https://www.sfcc.edu/offices/trio/

“As students and their families face growing barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this investment will support first-generation college students on their college and career journey by funding the services and leadership activities crucial for their success. TRIO Student Support Services at Santa Fe Community College has a proven track record in helping students accomplish their educational goals, and I’m pleased that it has this critical funding to continue doing so during the public health emergency, and for years to come,” said Congressman Ben Ray Luján.

Associate Vice President of Student Success Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos said, “Santa Fe Community College is honored to receive the highly competitive TRIO Student Support Services federal grant award. The award will enhance our efforts in assisting us to meet the needs of our students as they experience a successful and meaningful postsecondary education and prepare for careers and extended educational programs.  The grant will support our continuing TRIO participants and allow us to welcome new participants who will experience various academic and social activities. I am proud to serve our community and to be in a position to offer services through the TRIO grant that plays such an important role in shaping our students and gives them the tools to be successful within their educational endeavors.”

“This grant award will ensure the success of so many students,” said SFCC’s Interim Director of TRIO Danielle Gonzales. “We are encouraging students to apply in upcoming semesters. Students can apply online at www.sfcc.edu/offices/trio/. Once the application is complete, one of our staff members will be in touch with the student to schedule an interview.”

Gonzales added, “It can be difficult to acclimate to the college experience, but SFCC’s TRIO students have a chance to thrive through the personal interaction that our services afford.  We have a dedicated and resilient staff who work diligently to continue to serve our students during the pandemic. In addition to our proactive, personalized outreach, we continue to offer the following services:

Teams, Zoom or phone:

  • Advising
  • Tutoring in math, science, writing,
  • Scholarship searches and application assistance – including assistance with writing personal statements.
  • Workshops – which include topics such as: Financial Literacy, Financial Aid Q&A and FAFSA assistance, how to be a successful online student, self-care and stress management, navigating the “new normal.”
  • Personalized navigation sessions for Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Canvas and weekly drop-in sessions for any technology related questions.
  • Cyber Cafes – opportunities for students to gather to connect, chat, share, laugh, etc.
  • Steminars – small seminars featuring guest speakers from various STEM related professionals that allow students personalized insight into fields that may be of interest.
  • Virtual College tours for students interested in transferring to a four-year college or university.
  • Virtual Cultural Events including virtual tours of local museums and streaming of culturally appropriate movies.

“While TRIO provides the services and support, students put in the hard work,” Gonzales said. “There is no greater joy than sharing in the academic accomplishments of TRIO students: a student who has successfully juggled work, family and school to graduate with two degrees; a student who has overcome a learning disability to graduate with high honors; a student who has persevered through serious illness to earn a degree in nursing; a student who has returned to school after several years, initially intimidated by the process, to pass his first math test;  a student who is the first in her family to attend college to successfully complete her associate degree and transfer on to four-year university. SFCC’s TRIO staff is honored to help hard-working students achieve their goals.”

The U.S. Department of Education is funding 100% of the $275,105 TRIO SSS program yearly costs. For more information about TRIO contact TRIO Interim Director Danielle Gonzales at 505-428-1834.

Note to reporters:  SFCC can share contact info of TRIO students willing to talk about their experience.  Please send an email request to Emily Drabanski at emily.drabanski@sfcc.edu.

Santa Fe Community College celebrates its 40th Anniversary as the pathway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high-quality programs that serve the academic, cultural, and economic needs of the community. The college welcomes over 10,000 students per year in credit, noncredit, workforce training, personal enrichment, and adult programs.
A “Best for Vets” and a “Military Friendly” school.

Visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000.

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