Office of Student Success awarded more than $1.1M for TRIO Educational Opportunity Center Grant




Jackson State’s Office of Student Success and Title III has been awarded a third TRIO program grant for more than $1.1 million over a five-year period by the U.S. Department of Education.

The TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) grant assists unemployed adults, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. This is the first TRIO EOC grant awarded to Jackson State. This program will serve 850 participants annually.

“The grant funding comes at a pivotal time to support adults who aspire to complete a high school diploma or equivalency and those who want to attend or return to a postsecondary education degree program,” said Dr. Mitchell Shears, associate vice president for Student Success and executive director of Title III.

Shears, who has also been appointed to assume oversight temporarily over Enrollment Management added, “With the increase of unemployment rates due to COVID-19 and the high percentage of working adults without a college degree who struggle to afford the basic necessities, this grant positions Jackson State to provide resources to assist these adults with completing high school equivalency, career or technical certificate programs, associate’s and/or bachelor’s degrees.”

The TRIO EOC program provides counseling and information on college admissions and services to improve participants’ financial and economic literacy. Among comprehensive services are academic and personal counseling, tutoring and mentoring, career workshops, information on postsecondary education opportunities, student financial assistance, and help in completing applications for college admissions.

The project will serve residents in seven Mississippi counties – Copiah, Hinds, Holmes, Scott, Simpson, Warren and Yazoo – and 34 cities/towns located in the seven counties. As with all TRIO programs, priority will be given to low-income, first-generation and disabled individuals.

The EOC program will also prioritize assistance to military or veteran connected individuals. “One of the competitive preference priorities in the grant competition was to address the needs of military or veteran connected individuals,” Shears added. “We will provide a portfolio of military support programs and networks which will include a national model peer support program for veterans.”

The TRIO EOC grant will work collaboratively with the two TRIO Student Support Services programs, that were previously awarded to Jackson State in September 2020. These grants were also funded by the U.S. Department of Education.