THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has announced the creation of the Bayou Educational Opportunity Center, a program aimed at expanding higher education opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented students.
Housed at Nicholls and fully funded by a five-year, $1.2 million Federal TRIO Grant, the Opportunity Center will partner with local school districts and adult education centers to provide readily accessible college guidance to qualifying high school seniors, adult education graduates and parents of low-income, first-generation college students.
“Our goal is to help more students understand and overcome the barriers to entry into higher education,” said Debi Benoit, Nicholls director of research and sponsored programs. “The Opportunity Center will inspire more students to prepare for the job market of the future.”
Created in 1964, the Federal TRIO Program is designed to assist disadvantaged individuals – like low-income, first-generation college or disabled students – progress through the academic pipeline. Educational Opportunity Centers are one of eight grant programs offered through the program. The goal is to ultimately increase the number of adult students enrolled in higher education.
Participants will be connected to tutors and mentors who will help students improve their financial and economic literacy. A key function of the grant is to connect participants with local, state and federal scholarship opportunities, as well as other financial aid tools, like basic financial planning skills and assistance in the application process.
“A college education can change the trajectory of a person’s life. We are excited that we received this grant from the Department of Education to help more first-generation, low-income students in our region obtain a college degree,” said Nicholls Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Lynn Gillette.
As part of the grant, the Opportunity Center, which will employ a program director and two outreach coordinators, will work with a minimum of 1,000 participants over the course of the grant, which expires on Aug. 31, 2021. The center will partner with the Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish school boards, Bayou Cane Adult Education School, South Central Louisiana Technical College, Fletcher Technical Community College and other community groups.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 15, 2016
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