A new grant that Del Mar College recently received means the college will now have three TRIO programs in operation at once.

The $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will support the college’s Trio Educational Opportunity Center. Del Mar was awarded the TRIO Outreach Program Grant on Nov. 1 after a review of a proposal submitted by Patricia Benavides-Dominguez, interim vice president for Student Affairs. 

The funds will be awarded throughout the next five years. The new Educational Opportunity Center, or EOC, will serve 850 students each year.

This grant allows anyone who has not received their post-secondary degree, certificate, or those who seek a GED the ability to do so. Del Mar College’s EOC will provide financial aid advising, tutoring and career guidance.

Cheryl Sanders, interim associate vice president for Student Affairs, said the grant should help the college keep people informed.

“Not having information is what prevents people from even applying and so that is what this is all about; this grant is going to help alleviate that barrier,” Sanders said.

The proposal from Benavides-Dominguez focused on three counties: Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio post-secondary attainment and the lack thereof. 

Del Mar hopes to have the program in place by late this semester or early spring at the latest, Sanders said.

Program participants must live in Nueces, Refugio or San Patricio county, not have completed any post-secondary education and must be 19 or older. 

Other TRIO grants include Veterans Upward Bound and Student Support Services. 

“This is big for the community. It’s about the community and improving the community’s level of degree attainment,” Sanders said. 

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