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TRIO programs take students forward
College support programs keep students on track
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Barton Community College students Jessica Mackey, left, and Tanner Cullens pose for a photo on campus after speaking to the BCC Board of Trustees about Upward Bound.

Federal funds to TRIO programs help about 1,400 Kansas students from disadvantaged backgrounds annually and employ 20 people at Barton Community College. This also brings about $1 million to the college. During a presentation last Tuesday, the BCC Board of Trustees learned more about TRIO, hearing from two students in one of its programs.

These days there are actually four TRIO programs at Barton, said Vice President of Student Services Angie Maddy. Nationally, these college opportunity programs help more than 812,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities — from sixth grade through college graduation.

The programs at Barton are:

• Student Support Services - This program serves 200 BCC students. It has been on campus since 1991 and current funding is $339,811

• Central Kansas Educational Opportunity Center - Since 1998, this program has been available to 33 Kansas counties. The home office is in Great Bend, but not all of the students served choose to attend Barton. Current funding is $277,711.

• Barton County Upward Bound (BCUB) serves 57 high school students in Ellinwood, Hoisington and Great Bend. It was established in 1999 and current funding is $263,000.

• Central Kansas Upward Bound started in 2007. Similar to BCUB, this program serves 57 high school students in Central Plains, Chase, Ellsworth, Lyons and Wilson high schools. Current funding is $263,500. 

Two students who were in Central Kansas Upward Bound in high school and who now attend Barton spoke to the trustees on Tuesday.

Jessica Mackey is a sophomore from Ellsworth majoring in social work. Next year she plans to transfer to Wichita State University. Upward Bound staff helped her with homework encouraged her to “do better.”

“I never dreamed of going to college when I was in high school, so to be here talking to you about this is great,” Mackey said. “Upward Bound sets goals for you that you wouldn’t set for yourself, and they reward grades and effort. Now I’m graduating early and heading to a four-year school.”

Tanner Cullens is a sophomore from Wilson majoring in psychology. He also plans to go to WSU next year.

“The program is amazing in general; the staff make it a dream,” Cullens said. “If it weren’t for Upward Bound I wouldn’t be here. I was a troubled youth, but Upward Bound gave me the tools and motivation to turn my life around and make something of myself.”

Maddy noted that students in Upward Bound programs aren’t forgotten after high school. Instead, they are referred to their Student Support Services at Barton or whatever college or university they attend.

“Upward Bound will track their former participants and stay in touch with them offering them limited mentoring, support, etc., as it is one of their objectives that the students complete a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school graduation,” Maddy said.