The programs, called TRIO, target students that may have been at a disadvantage economically and/or educationally as well as students with disabilities and focuses on getting them into college and helping them graduate from college.
Many students in Walker and surrounding counties qualify for assistance from these programs. Light said the BSCC campuses currently serve about 1,100 students, but could easily serve 6,000 if the funds were available.
“You just wouldn’t believe my waiting list,” Light told the Chamber.
Bevill currently has seven TRIO programs that are funded by grants from the United States Department of Education. They provide low-income students with a variety of services, including tutoring, assistance in completing financial aid applications and applications to 4-year institutions, career counseling and equipment loans, among other things.
The Talent Search Program goes into schools and identifies students that fall below a certain income level and provide support and test preparation to encourage the students to succeed in high school and start thinking about college.
Later, the Upward Bound program picks up with a smaller, more intensive group that is focused on obtaining an advanced diploma. There are also stipends available to encourage those students to succeed.
After high school graduation, Student Support Services focuses on getting those students through college. There are three advisors serving those students at that level.
“We are changing lives,” Light said. “I am very proud of what we’re doing.”