Rio Hondo College announced Wednesday that it has received $2.68 million in federal grants to expand coaching services for its students who are low-income, first-generation, have disabilities or face other barriers to higher education.

The grants are provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO programs, a collection of eight programs that serve student groups with high needs.

“First-generation students often lack a role model equipped to guide them through the complex process of becoming a college student,” Rio Hondo College acting Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “These students often don’t know how to advocate for themselves and are more likely to be derailed by barriers. TRIO programs bridge the gap as students pursue their goals.”

Rio Hondo said it received two grants: A TRIO-Regular grant that will provide $1.42 million over five years to serve 165 students and a TRIO-STEM grant that will provide $1.26 million over five years for 124 students.

Both grant programs are focused on individualized coaching, which includes helping students create educational and personal success plans, academic advising, academic excellence workshops, study skills, time management, tutoring, financial literacy education, support for transfer applications and financial aid.

Students may also participate in group study and faculty interactions and receive support for applying to summer internships. All services are geared to enable students to graduate from Rio Hondo College and transfer to four-year universities.

The TRIO-STEM grant also allows the college to provide a dedicated science, technology, engineering and math counselor and other personnel who are familiar with the work needed for such courses.

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