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TRIO Student Support Services receives $1.3M grant

ISSUED: 13 August 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University received a $1,309,440 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS) program for the next five years. This is the third consecutive TRIO grant awarded to the university.

TRIO SSS is open to students who are income eligible, first generation, or have a documented disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act that can be verified by Shepherd’s Disability Support Services office. Cynthia Copney, director of TRIO programs, said she is excited the grant will support the program’s continuation.

“We work with very talented students who are committed to achieving their goals of a bachelor’s degree,” Copney said. “My team and I take great pleasure in working with these students. They are in the program because they are dedicated to creating a better future for themselves and their families. Once the chain of not attending college is broken in a first-generation college student’s family, it is broken forever. That is the magic of TRIO.”

Dr. Laura Renninger, dean, Ruth Scarborough Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning, said when Shepherd’s TRIO SSS program began in 2010 with the first grant, few people understood what the program was all about.

“Our TRIO program has evolved into the lifeblood of the campus over the years,” Renninger said. “Student Support Services has contributed immensely to the positive upswing we are seeing in the overall retention, graduation, and persistence rates at Shepherd University. The team has enriched the lives of hundreds of students over the years and our students are thriving because of it. It is vital that the program continues, and I couldn’t be more excited about the next five years.”

The new grant period begins on September 1. Copney said TRIO SSS will assist 165 students each year, offering services such as academic tutoring, financial aid and financial literacy, educational workshops, peer mentoring, and career counseling and planning.

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