November 20, 2017

UAB awarded three grants to create academic pipeline for high school, college students

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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trio grantThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has been awarded three highly competitive federal TRIO grants by the U.S. Department of Education. The grants, totaling $3.8 million over five years, will help provide an academic pipeline for disadvantaged students to obtain baccalaureate and doctoral degrees.

Two Classic Upward Bound Program grants and one Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program grant join UAB’s federal Student Support Services program. All are a part of a network of TRIO programs fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The mission of the Student Support Services program is to provide academic and personal support to help students be successful as they pursue their educational goals at UAB. With the addition of two existing Student Support Services grants, UAB now hosts a total of five federal TRIO grants, helping to assist 465 students at $1.42 million annually.

“The federal TRIO programs began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and were designed to level the playing field for talented students who may be overlooked or forgotten,” said Tracy Lyon, principal investigator and executive director of Undergraduate Student Success and Retention at UAB. “With the five programs, UAB will be able to provide both college access and college success programming to students from high school to graduate school.”

The two Classic Upward Bound grants will provide intensive college prep services to 120 select students from Carver, Jackson-Olin, Parker, Tarrant and Bessemer high schools. Upward Bound services include ACT boot camps, scholarship assistance, advising in secondary and postsecondary course selection, information on financial aid programs, and financial aid assistance, as well as financial literacy, cultural activities, career exploration and mentoring, and college visits. Upward Bound also includes a six-week, college-simulated summer program at UAB in which participants receive instruction in math, science, a foreign language, English composition and literature.

“With the five programs, UAB will be able to provide both college access and college success programming to students from high school to graduate school.”

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, or McNair Scholars Program, is named in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair. McNair was the second African-American to fly in space and one of the seven-person crew who died during the launch of space shuttle “Challenger” in 1986. The program identifies and prepares high-achieving UAB undergraduates for doctoral study by providing research opportunities, faculty mentoring, internships, counseling, tutoring and graduate school visits.

Scholars will also participate in the McNair Summer Research Program, attend a graduate school boot camp, produce a scholarly essay on their findings, and present their work at academic conferences and the UAB Research Expo. The programs will recruit students this fall with services beginning in January. 

TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.