The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce that Opportunity Network, a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program, will remain funded through a $1.4 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education to continue its work in helping students succeed academically, personally and professionally, while earning their baccalaureate degrees.
Opportunity Network, a TRIO SSS program, offers a wide range of free services and programs for low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities who are actively pursuing their degrees at USC Upstate.
The program will receive $281,510 annually over a five-year period to offer personalized services like academic advising, academic tutoring, financial aid assistance, graduate school preparation, as well as financial and economic literacy training. Some additional services that may be offered include personal counseling and career guidance, exposure to cultural events, and mentoring.
Making the transition from high school to college can seem overwhelming for many students. No one knows that story better than Selena Blair, director of Opportunity Network at USC Upstate.
Blair, a TRIO alumna, knows the program works.
“TRIO Programs helped me to be the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go on to college,” Blair said. “As a teenage parent, many people counted me out; however, it was my TRIO counselors that constantly told me that I could make it. Without the help of TRIO programs, I definitely would not be the person I am today. Programs like these are instrumental in preparing students, regardless of their background or upbringing, to become contributing members to society.”
SSS is one of the seven federal TRIO programs, which provide outreach and student services to low-income individuals, first generation college students, students with disabilities, foster care youth or homeless children and youth to help them progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs.
Opportunity Network is funded to serve 160 students per year and will welcome approximately 60 new students this fall into the program. Since the program’s inception in 1996, more than 2,500 students have benefitted from program services many of whom persisted to graduation. USC Upstate’s program is one of 21 programs in South Carolina to receive funding.