Students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Central Pennsylvania will soon have the opportunity to attend college, thanks to a $1.3 million grant to Millersville University. The University was recently awarded the TRIO Talent Search grant from the Department of Education.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant,” says Dr. Mary Beth Williams, vice president of Student Affairs at Millersville University. “The TRIO grant compliments our efforts in Student Access and Support Services. SASS is already home to the Lancaster Partnership Program, the Pre-Scholars Summer Institute and the Millersville Scholars Program, so this will be a good addition.”
The program creates a unique opportunity for disadvantaged students who have the potential to succeed in higher education. It gives them a chance to attend or re-enter post-secondary education. Through the program, students will be encouraged to complete high school and continue their education through college. The students will also receive academic, career and financial counseling throughout their college career.
Millersville University’s goal is to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to succeed in college with the support they need.
Darlene Newman, Director of SASS, was instrumental in writing the grant. Newman, along with the late Renardo Hall applied for it in 2021. “We already provide services for students who may need additional support to successfully navigate their college experience,” says Newman. “We knew this grant would help us expand our efforts to assist more students throughout Central Pennsylvania.”
10 south-central and south-eastern Pennsylvania high schools will benefit from the grant as the schools in these areas endure high poverty rates and show a need for stronger academic support.
The high schools include:
- McCaskey High School, Lancaster, Lancaster County
- Columbia High School, Columbia, Lancaster County
- Louis Dieruff High School, Allentown, Lehigh County
- William Allen High School, Allentown, Lehigh County
- Pottstown Area High School, Pottstown, Montgomery County
- Reading High School, Reading, Berks County
- Harrisburg High School, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA
- York High School, York, York County, PA
- Lebanon High School, Lebanon, Lebanon County, PA
- Norristown High School, Norristown, Montgomery County
The University has set objectives to ensure the students from the high schools included in the grant will succeed in higher education. Millersville hopes to recruit 500 Talent Search students from across the 10 schools.
Students must be between the ages of 11 and 27 and have completed the fifth grade. In any given program, two-thirds of the participants must be students who are low-income and potential first-generation college students.
The objectives of the grant include:
- Retain at least 97% of the students from the first to second year through the support from the program.
- Graduate at least 83% of the students from high school.
- Enroll at least 25% of the students in advanced classes and programs.
- Enroll at least 51% of the students in a post-secondary program after graduation.
- Graduate at least 36% of the students from a post-secondary program
MU has previously implemented student success programs that have assisted both high school and university students. Some of the programs include:
- The GEAR UP project is funded by the Department of Education to provide education services and programming to prepare 81 students from surrounding areas for post-secondary education.
- The Migrant Education Program provides support to the children of migrant families to ensure they achieve the same high standards as students who have not had their education interrupted.
- The College Assistance Migrant Program provides support for first-year college students from migrant and seasonal farm worker families.
- Millersville University created the Lancaster Partnership Program that partners with the Lancaster School District to offer incentives for poverty stricken students to earn a high school diploma and attain a college education.
- The Millersville Scholars Program in association with the Pre-Scholars Summer Institute provides an opportunity for high school students to prepare and succeed in their freshman year of college.
For more information on federal TRIO programs visit – https://www2.ed.gov/programs/triotalent/index.html.
For information on SASS go to https://www.millersville.edu/sass/index.php.