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GSU gets $1.1 million grant to assist disadvantaged students

Governors State University will use a $1.1 million TRIO grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a new GSU Education Opportunity Center.

TRIO is designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. It includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist targeted communities, and also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.

In the past, popular programs have included Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Center, and McNair Scholars Program.

GSU was one of three Chicago area higher education institutions to receive the federal award and will target populations facing increasingly difficult tasks of finding gainful employment in a region experiencing technological, economic, and cultural shifts.

GSU’s Education Opportunity Center will be composed of a coalition of local and regional schools, social service and community agencies, workforce investment boards and businesses to lead the outreach initiative designed to serve students from low-income households, are first generation college students or are persons with disabilities from middle school to post-baccalaureate program. Outreach to adults will focus on economic and educational guidance, including financial literacy and financial aid counseling, as well as specialized support services.

The center expects to service more than 800 people from south suburban Cook, Kankakee, and Will counties in Illinois and northwest Lake County in Indiana over the five years of funding.

“These programs will provide access to higher education and change the trajectory of our students’ lives,” said Corey Williams, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

He said the next step is to hire a program director, and outreach and English Language Learner and GED specialists by the end of the fall semester.

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