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Federal Program Helps Nebraska Students Stay in School

By Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Neb. — A federal program at Central Community College in Columbus is helping low-income, first-generation or disabled students remain in school.

The Columbus Telegram reports that TRIO is an organization through the U.S. Department of Education with programs designed to identify and help those from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their educational and career goals. TRIO students take a free course designed to help them adapt to college life and teach them academic and life skills.

Rosie Heinisch, the TRIO director at the college, saysthe program ultimately leads to self-confidence.

“We found when we interviewed some students who were eligible for (TRIO) they said they wanted to go to a school that was closer to home – they didn’t feel like they were ready for the four-year experience,” said Heinisch.

Student Madelin Calderon, who moved to Nebraska after graduating from high school in Guatemala, said the TRIO program helped her adjust to life at her new school.

“TRIO helped me to understand life in college here because in Guatemala it is totally different,” she said. “You feel more comfortable and ready for college.”

The Columbus campus was the first in the Central Community College to start the TRIO program in 2001. The program is now at all of the college’s campuses. The school has received a five-year grant that will partially fund the program.

Some of the program’s initiatives have been tweaked to serve the college’s general population. Teachers report on students’ progress throughout the semester. If a student is having trouble, their adviser will contact them to help them find a solution to any problems that they may be having.

“It’s time-consuming, but we think it’s an important intervention,” said Assistant Dean of Students Beth Pryzmus. “Community college students in particular have a lot of barriers, so we know we have to be proactive.”


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