TNCC Awarded Over $1 Million Grant for TRiO Program

Published: September 10, 2010

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) has been awarded a $1,192,480 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for its TRiO Student Support Services. The grant will be spread over five years with TNCC receiving $238,496 the first year which began this September.

Virginia Keithley, the College’s  TRiO director, said the grant will support a week long summer orientation for freshmen called Smart Start to TNCC, expansion of TRiO’s mentor component, implementation of an intense first-year experience for entering freshmen and the hiring of two part-time staff members (retention specialist and supplemental instructor). The retention specialist will work with first-year TRiO students on their study skills, learning style and personality congruency with career/major choice. The supplemental instructor will attend a specialized Mathematics class with TRiO students and meet outside of class two to four hours a week augmenting instruction, she explained.

TRiO is a federal program that serves students who are either first-generation, low-income and/or have a documented disability. Eligible students must also be enrolled in a transfer curriculum. The program was implemented at Thomas Nelson in 2005-2006 and has had 160 students per year enrolled – the maximum allowed by the federal grant.

Students in the program receive mentoring, tutorial services, personal counseling, career exploration/planning and partake in activities that aid their transfer to four-year institutions. Keithley said students have greatly benefited from the program.

“Our retention of first-year freshmen from fall to fall is currently 91percent; average TRiO grade point average is 3.0 and the majority of our students graduate and transfer to the four-year college within three years. We currently have TRiO students who have graduated and transferred from TNCC and are enrolled at VCU, CNU, UVA, ODU, Virginia Tech and College of William and Mary,” she added.

For more information about TRiO at TNCC, call 825-3514 or visit


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