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Trio Programs: "Advancing College Opportunity in Ohio"

March 8, 2006

DELAWARE, Ohio — Ohio's TRIO personnel will celebrate "Forty Years of Advancing College Opportunity in Ohio," with a legislative breakfast on Wednesday, March 15 from 8-9 a.m. at the Columbus Renaissance Hotel. TRIO is a group of federally-funded programs that increase access to secondary education for low-income and first generation college-bound students. The legislative breakfast will be hosted by State Senators Joy Padgett and Teresa Fedor, according to Deborah Lipscomb, Ohio Wesleyan University's Upward Bound Program Director. Ohio Wesleyan Upward Bound is a TRIO program that serves over 115 students from high schools in inner city Columbus. During the academic year, Upward Bound provides services such as tutorial programs, college preparatory and career workshops, field trips to colleges and universities, local businesses and cultural centers, one-on-one academic and personal counseling sessions and parent forums. The breakfast is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (OAEOPP), the professional association for TRIO program personnel in Ohio. One of the main purposes of the legislative breakfast, Lipscomb says, is "to educate state legislators about TRIO, a college access program that works." "State legislators need to be more aware that the TRIO programs have been successful for 40 years," Lipscomb says. "The best way to tell them that it is to have graduates of TRIO programs there to tell their stories." Over breakfast, TRIO students, professionals, and alumni from throughout Ohio will discuss how TRIO has made a difference in their lives. In addition to personal stories, the rate of success among TRIO students consistently reaches their federal requirements for funding. "Since 1989, our Ohio Wesleyan average college graduation rate is 67 percent," Lipscomb says. Nationally, TRIO programs have expanded significantly since their inception in the Higher Education Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson. Today, TRIO programs serving college-bound students can be found at over 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges, and other agencies. Nearly 866,000 low-income Americans, 22,000 students with disabilities, and more then 25,000 U.S. veterans are currently served by TRIO programs. Despite the flourishing programs, Lipscomb says that each year TRIO must petition the federal government to be included in the federal budget. Government recognition and support at both the federal and state levels is extremely important for the continuation of the programs. After breakfast, TRIO students will be able to sign up for meetings and half-day "shadowing" opportunities with their state legislators. Though the attendance at the breakfast will mainly include state legislators, TRIO personnel, students and alumni, Lipscomb encourages community members to come and support TRIO as well. "We invite the community to join us—anyone interested in celebrating TRIO and learning how it works," Lipscomb says. "We'd really love to have them."

For more information, contact Deborah Lipscomb at Ohio Wesleyan University (740-368-3218) or Amy Reed, Xavier University, OAEOPP President (513-745-3756), or visit the OAEOPP web site.