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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:14 pm

Grant helps IPFW students to graduation

Jamie DuffyThe Journal Gazette

IPFW has received its second five-year federal grant to help first-generation college students get to graduation.

The $1.1 million grant, called a TRIO grant, will aid 140 IPFW students yearly to navigate the university system and graduate in no more than six years. The program provides academic and support services to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students to increase students' retention and graduation rates. It also helps in transfering from two-year to four-year colleges, among other services.

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast announced last month it also received a TRIO grant of $1,155,515 over a five-year period, or $231,103 a year. The grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs is part of the Student Support Services Program. TRIO serves 160 students at Ivy Tech, officials said.

"We already have 45 graduates from the program," said Shubitha Kever, IPFW director of TRIO support services. Technically, IPFW has until spring 2016 to count graduates who have six years to complete their degree, she added. 

Five years ago, IPFW received its first TRIO grant of $1 million.

"The biggest thing is just informational," Kever said. "Not having their parents go before them, they lack a lot of knowledge." That knowledge includes the role of the bursar's office and services available on campus. The support services extend to hiring several TRIO students as student workers and building confidence.

"We just want them to fit in here, too, even though they're first gen and they don't always feel like that," Kever said. "We do pretty well once we get them in here. You get to know what their challenges are."

Students are selected for the program after filling out an application and going through an interview process. "Once our spots are full, we're full," Kever said.