Grand Rapids Community College was the recipient of a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help adult learners return to, or start their college careers.
The community college will invest the grant in creating a TRIO Educational Opportunities Center (EOC), where campus specialists can connect unemployed, low-income workers and adult students including those with disabilities, housing insecurities, individuals in foster care, first-generation college students and individuals who are underrepresented in post-secondary education with counseling and information on admissions and support services.
“A community thrives when all of its members have access to higher education,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We appreciate this support from the U.S. Education Department to help GRCC connect residents with services that can help them be successful on their educational pathway.”
During the 2020-21 fiscal year, 139 EOCs served more than 192,000 adult learners.
“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like EOC take on new importance, because they continue to help guide unemployed and underemployed workers and returning high school and college students toward earning a degree,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C.