Linda Barker Receives Two Grants to Fund Programs for Low-Income and First-Generation College Students in Pulaski and Jefferson Counties
Linda Barker, Director of the TRIO Educational Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Center Programs, has received two grants from the US Department of Education’s Federal TRIO Program to help low-income and first-generation college students succeed in post-secondary education. The first grant, which serves 1,068 students in Pulaski and Jefferson counties for five years, totals $2,562,040. The second grant, which serves 500 students in north Pulaski County for five years, totals $1,199,995.
The TRIO Program will provide a comprehensive plan of activities for each student in the program that identifies and explores future academic and career aspirations, provides plans for financial assistance and financial planning, and provides opportunities for engagement to bolster postsecondary enrollment.
Recent Census Bureau data shows the great need for the TRIO Talent Search Program in these target areas. 48.3 percent of families in the first target area are considered low-income, while the national average is 17.8 percent. 76 percent of students in the target school districts participate in free and reduced lunch programs. In the north Pulaski County target area, 47 percent of families are considered low-income and 64 percent of students participate free and reduced lunch programs.
On the academic side, only 26 percent of these students in the first target area are taking AP courses. In the north Pulaski County target area, only 14 percent of students are taking these courses. In both target areas, post-secondary enrollment rates are lower than the state and national rates.
The UA Little Rock TRIO Educational Talent Search Program will identify students who need these services and assist in removing barriers that prevent them from obtaining a post-secondary degree. TRIO will provide a variety of higher education access workshops and activities to middle and high school students in the target schools. The activities include admission and financial aid workshops, student achievement assessments, online tutoring program access, college campus tours, as well as leadership and motivational sessions. Participants in the program will be chosen based on Target Search requirements along with recommendations from target school officials.
Because of the UA Little Rock TRIO Program, students who face numerous barriers to a successful post-secondary academic future in Pulaski and Jefferson counties can seek the assistance they need to obtain successful careers.