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Trio Gives Support to Students on BCU Campus

March 20, 2019 | by Baily Sitzmann


Trio or Student Support Services (SSS) is a Department of Education Program that helps students in college stay in college until they receive a baccalaureate degree. This program has shown over the years that more students in the program are graduating and staying in college due to the help they are receiving from Trio.


Trio is a program that serves only two hundred students at a time. This allows the staff members to work one-on-one with all the students and to get to know them by their name and background. Trio or SSS has specific eligibility requirements for a student to be in it. The government has sent guidelines and regulations for those who can be the program. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “To receive assistance, students must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program of post-secondary education at a grantee institution. Low-income students who are first-generation college students and students with disabilities evidencing academic need are eligible to participate in SSS projects. Two-thirds of the participants in any SSS project must be either disabled or potential first-generation college students from low-income families. One-third of the disabled participants must also be low-income students.”


This allows students who may not have the easiest time getting to college or staying in college a better chance to succeed. This happens because of the many services that schools offer, especially Briar Cliff University with counseling, tutoring, courses, financial aid, disability services and career mentoring.


Director and Counselor of Trio Student Support Services, Brenda Parkhill says, “We want our students to succeed, and we want to maximize the college experience for eligible students.”

BCU’s Trio program also offers many things that other schools don’t due to the small community. They offer personal skills courses throughout the academic year in mathematics, study skills, reading, critical thinking, and writing. They do these workshops to help Trio students succeed in and outside the classroom.


Academic Counselor, Jenni Hanni-Schmitz says, “One of the things that attracted me to this job was the opportunity to help students in a multitude of ways--especially First Generation College students who may not have parents to help them understand what to expect or how to do things college related.”


Along with workshops, the staff help with job mentoring. This allows students to connect with outside members of the community in similar fields that they are studying so they can get real world experience. This provides students with required preparation, job opportunities, responsibilities, and answers to questions they or others may have.


Several things that many students, current or incoming, do not know is that BCU’s Trio is constant. The counselors are always keeping up with their students to make sure that they are okay, school is going well, and they care. The counselors will keep up with students either weekly, monthly or reach out when necessary depending on the year students are. They also do things in their office to keep up morale so students know they are always welcome and have people behind them. The counselors offer snacks and games throughout the year for finals week, they do workshops for students to help them understand how to get a job, create a LinkedIn pages and much more.


“Trio really helped me as a first-generation student. It helped me get on the right path for the career that I want,” says Junior, Elizabeth Andrews.


Briar Cliff Trio is here to help as many people as possible, who need it. They want students to succeed in college and after graduation.


The Trio Student Support Services offices are located in Heelan Hall 057. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have any questions please contact them at (712) 279-1717.


Trio Student Support Services (SSS) creates logo to show the help they offer.

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