TCL to celebrate first generation college students, programs

Published on October 19, 2021

For many students, attending college or obtaining a degree is simply a rite of passage or the continuation of family tradition. For others though, attending or even getting into college is something entirely new.

That’s why it’s important to celebrate first-generation college students and the programs that have made attending college – once out of reach for many Americans – possible, says Carlette Jones, TCL’s Director of Student Support Services.

“TRIO programs give first-generation and low-income students the opportunity and support they need to work towards a degree,” says Jones. “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish.”

As explained, by Eric Jenkins, a TRIO alum, it all started with the Higher Education Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Nov. 8 that same year.

Established to “strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education,” the law led to the creation of grants, loans and other programs that helped students obtain an education beyond secondary school.

For lower- and middle-income families, the creation of TRIO federal programs – named for the original three programs the law created – was a game changer. 

“For many, these programs helped break the cycle of generational poverty or led to the start of something truly lifechanging,” Jenkins says.

Today, TRIO includes eight federally funded programs which work to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities. Colleges and universities across the country mark or celebrate Nov. 8, the anniversary of the signing of HEA, with various activities and events.

Now in its third year, TCL’s celebration will include a luncheon featuring virtual guest speakers from noon to 1 p.m. in Building 12, on the Beaufort Mather Campus. Those who are interested in participating in the event, should RSVP here by Nov. 1.

Student Support Services is also hosting an in-person walk to follow the luncheon. Walkers should meet at 1 p.m. in front of the Student Center, in Building 12.