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COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) is celebrating National TRIO Day on February 26 this year to recognize the four successful TRIO programs sponsored by the college.  In recognition of National TRIO Day, they have called upon many throughout the community to engage in volunteer service.  This year the group will volunteer from 9 to 11 a.m. at the North Bend Library.  Those who are unable to volunteer at the library that day are encouraged to volunteer elsewhere in your local community.

TRIO programs are designed to help low-income and first-generation students enroll and earn a college degree.  According to a congressional resolution, “National TRIO Day is a day on which the nation is asked to turn its attention to the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives, to the investment necessary if they are to become contributing citizens of this country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made.”  Congress passed the resolution in 1986 in an effort to increase awareness and rally support for TRIO programs. National TRIO Day has served as a day of celebration, reflection, and action for students, educators, and supporters of TRIO programs.

Southwestern has one Student Support Services program (SSS, college-level, 160 students), two Talent Search programs (TS, pre-college, 600 students each program) and one Upward Bound program (UB, pre-college, 50 students).   The SSS program is located on SWOCC’s Coos Campus.   One Talent Search program services Coos Bay/North Bend middle and high schools while the other serves high schools outside the Bay Area including Reedsport, Brookings, and Powers.   The UB program services students at both Marshfield and North Bend high schools.

The SWOCC TRIO programs have been very successful in our area since the early 1990’s.  The national average for first generation high school students registering and attending college straight out of high school is only about 28% (NCES, 2005), while TS show rates between 73.9% and 81.5%, and UB between 85% & 88.8%.

TRIO acknowledges the disparity in college attendance by first generation/low income students and works to level the playing field.  The Upward Bound program, which has been in existence at SWOCC since 2003, provides academic and support services and leadership enrichment opportunities that prepare participants for college.  The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty.  It serves students from low-income families and families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.  Rose Buford, a current SWOCC student and former UB student from North Bend High School, said, “I was failing school when I joined Upward Bound.   They taught me how to focus, and work hard.   My study skills were drastically improved and I went from failing to honor roll.”

Talent Search, also born of the “War on Poverty,” is designed to identify qualified individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and to prepare them for a program of postsecondary education.

“The staff members of Talent Search and Upward Bound are figuratively the ‘Parents that completed college,’” said Sharilyn Brown, Director of Talent Search and Upward Bound.   “They assist students and their parents with all aspects of college preparation.”

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Name of Program

Grad Year

Percentage of TRIO Students

Grad Year

Percentage of TRIO Students

National * Average

Talent Search 1

2007/2008

78.7%

2008/2009

73.9%

28%

Talent Search 2

2007/2008

78.1%

2008/2009

81.5%

28%

Upward Bound

2007/2008

88.8%

2008/2009

85%

28%

*First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education; Institute of Education Sciences: National Center for Educational Statistics 2005

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