Crowder applying for 5-year grant

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Community support needed for TRIO Student Support Services program

The TRIO Student Support Services program at Crowder College in Cassville is seeking help from area businesses, as it is applying for a five-year grant to keep the program running.

Cheyenne Ward, TRIO Student Support Services program director, said the grant, worth more than $200,000 per year over a five-year period, was first awarded in 2010 and will expire in Aug. 2015.

"We are reapplying for the grant, and the Department of Education want us to show we have support from the local community," she said. "that can be anything from businesses giving out information about us to letting us use their facilities."

The program recently sent out a checklist through the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce, and items on the list that qualify as support for the college include scholarships, monetary donations, technical assistance, volunteers, referral assistance, supplies, equipment or transportation, among others.

Ward said some local banks have even offered to have employees speak to students and do workshops for business classes.

"It's not all about money, and we'll take any help we can get," she said. "The TRIO Student Support Services program's main goal is to get students through the college academic pipeline, helping with their advisement in picking out classes and ultimately getting them to graduate. We also help students who wish to transfer to a four-year college to do so."

Ward said each year, a minimum of $10,500 of the grant money is spent on scholarships for students, and often times the program spends more. Ward said the most popular majors among students include general studies, education and business, with education being popular because Crowder has a partnership with Missouri State University that allows students to earn bachelor's degrees in Cassville instead of traveling to a four-year college.

The grant money also funds things like visits to four-year institutions, paying for cultural events like attending a museum or history tour, as well as funding the salaries of the staff.

In 2010, the grant gave Crowder $220,000, but that number drops each year, as the program received $202,000 this year.

Ward said the grant application will be submitted sometime between October and Jan. 2015, and the college is hopeful it is renewed.

"If we do not get the grant, the TRIO Student Support Services program would become obsolete in Cassville," she said. "But, we're trying to be optimistic because it has been at the Neosho campus for several years, and we always meet our requirements."

Ward said the program serves the 140-student maximum each year, and it has served more than 250 students since it began in 2010.

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