BY ALEJANDRO MEZA AGUILAR
A College of the Desert student earned thousands of dollars in scholarship money through the help of the TRiO DSPS program on campus. The TRiO program was founded by the U.S Department of Education to help first generation college students, low-income students and students with disabilities.
Gabriel Rodriguez received $5,000 in scholarships this past year with the help of the TRiO program. He received the assistance from staff to meet with guidance counselors that helped him find the right classes for the necessary credits and appropriate amount of units for his workload. “After being able to maintain a steady grade point average and being on top of my studies then it began to feel like second nature for me,” Rodriguez said.
Students planning to enroll in the program will need temporary or permanent documentation such as a visa, U.S. residency or U.S. citizenship. Eligibility would be based on the passing of Math 54, enrolling in six or more units, a 2.0 grade point average, and they must pursue an AA, certificate or a transfer to a four year institution.
Benefits of the program according to TRiO are college tours and trips to cultural events, workshops, guidance towards achieving academic success, priority on registration, personal tutoring, well formatted Student Educational Plans (SEP), use of the computer lab and the Live Pen loan program.
The application process of the program requires a submission of the application, verification of disability – if applicable – and an income tax IRS 1040 form. The TRiO office is located in South Annex 12 on the Palm Desert campus is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Student can contact them at (760)636-7974. The TRiO program puts education to heart as stated in their mission statement, “to assist students with disabilities who are first generation, and (or) low-income in the graduation and transfer processes from College of the Desert and to strengthen their preparation for a successful completion of their college degree.”