CCC&TI Awarded $1.38M To Help Students Access Higher Education

HUDSON, NC (October 21, 2021) — The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has received a federal Talent Search grant of $1,386,875 to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn college degrees to prepare for and enroll in college.

The funding allows CCC&TI to relaunch its TRIO Talent Search program, which had previously been offered to area middle school and high school students for approximately 15 years. CCC&TI also offers the TRIO/SSS program, which serves currently enrolled first-generation college students.

“I am thrilled that CCC&TI has received funding for the TRIO Talent Search grant program,” said Emily Garrison, TRIO Programs Director. “The impact this program will have on the lives of students and families and the opportunities this will bring to eligible students in Caldwell County Schools are life-changing.”

One of the federal TRIO programs, Talent Search identifies and assists middle and high school students succeed in higher education. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Talent Search program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. Talent Search provides those students counseling as well as information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs so that they can better understand their educational opportunities and options. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 80 percent of Talent Search participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In fiscal year 2020, more than 309,000 students were enrolled in 473 Talent Search TRIO projects in the United States.

Talent Search began in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. It was the second of eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education.

“The earlier we can reach students, the better our chances of preparing them for college and a career after high school,” CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said. “The Talent Search program will put our people in schools throughout the area with a goal of connecting them to resources and experiences that will inspire them to reach for the stars. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity and appreciative of the federal funding to get started.”

The funding will allow CCC&TI to provide TRIO Talent Search services to the following Caldwell County schools: Collettsville, Happy Valley, Kings Creek, Gamewell Middle, Granite Falls Middle, Hudson Middle, William Lenoir Middle, Hibriten High, South Caldwell High and West Caldwell High.

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like Talent Search take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.

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