$2.25 million federal grant continues UWL support for under-served students

Img 6778

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A federal program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that helps first-generation and low-income students achieve success in college will continue with a five-year, $2.25 million U.S. Department of Education grant.
The TRIO grant will give the UWL Student Support Services Office $449,718 a year to provide a host of student assistance, including tutoring, help with financial aid programs and scholarships, financial and economic literacy counseling and enrollment assistance to transition from two-year institutions to four-year programs.
UWL senior Matthew Vehlow, a first-generation student from Wausau, Wis., said he found out about Student Support Services his first year on campus while looking for help adjusting to college.
He has used the office for math and science tutors, as well as advice for his major in microbiology.
“If I had not heard about SSS, I don’t think that I would be finishing college,” Vehlow said. “Student Support Services helped me better adjust to life on campus by introducing me to new people, many who have become very good friends. It also helped me academically succeed, which helped give me the confidence I needed to pursue a science major which was challenging at the beginning.”
Molly Brown, a first-generation psychology major from Eau Claire, Wis., said, “SSS is a positive environment where I felt accepted and supported. I met new people that became very influential to me that I still communicate with today.”
Brown also credits the program with helping her join the Army National Guard and get accepted into her academic program, along with connecting her to scholarships and grants. The office was a key element in her graduating and landing a job at Logistics Health Inc. in La Crosse, she said.
The UWL program serves 350 students a year, SSS director Stacy Narcotta-Welp said. It recently renewed its focus on career and workplace readiness.
“These are the most under-served students on campus,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for them to belong so they can be successful and graduate.
Student Support Services, on campus since 1978, is in 2131 Centennial Hall. Other, separate federally funded TRIO programs on campus include Upward Bound, which provides programming and academic support to prepare 85 students from eight area high schools for college success each year, and the McNair Scholars program, which prepares college students for graduate school with the ultimate goal of increasing diversity among those with doctorate degrees.