By Tommy McCardle |Contributing Writer|
Funding for 200 students in the TRIO program may see an interruption in service pending a possible partial government shutdown.
According to the U.S. De
partment of Education’s website, TRIO is a federal outreach program providing student services and programs for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Dalia Hernandez, director of Upward Bound at CSUSB, is awaiting notification from the U.S. Department of Education for two of the three grants to fund the TRIO program.
“We are funded on a five-year grant cycle and are currently in our fifth year,” Hernandez said. “For two of our grants, funding ends on May 31.”
Services provided by Upward Bound include academic tutoring, assistance in course selection, guidance in scholarships and financial aid, and visits to colleges and exposure to cultural events.
“The purpose of Upward Bound is to provide students with the resources and tools so they are successful in high school and become college ready,” Hernandez said. “Here at CSUSB, not only do we have Upward Bound, but we also have Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services.”
Hernandez is hopeful for approval on the funding being approved by congressional representatives.
“There was a delay in notification because of our congressional representatives not reaching an agreement on the fiscal year 2017 Appropriations Bill,” Hernandez said. “However, an agreement finally was made which includes a 5.6 percent increase, which is roughly around $50 million.”
The battle is not yet finished as the full U.S. House of Representatives and Senate must now agree on funding and sign the bill.
Notification regarding the bill is expected to come within the first half of the month of May.
“If there is no continuing resolution in place, there could potentially be a partial government shutdown,” Hernandez said. “There will be a disruption of services to our students until an agreement notification is received if there is no agreement.”
Dalia spoke with Rep. Pete Aguilar and Rep. Norma Torres to share information on the program.
“Both representatives have been very supportive of our program,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez herself is an alumnus of the TRIO program.
“As a first-generation low income student, and having been an ESL student, it was difficult,” Hernandez said. “Because of those programs, I believe I owe my success to them.”
Hernandez started out as an office clerk for California State University Fullerton’s Talent Search Program 20 years ago, and has been director of Upward Bound since March 2015.
Steven De La Torre, a sophomore at CSUSB majoring in Business Marketing, credits Upward Bound for his success.
“I received a lot of support from the counselors,” De La Torre said. “Anytime I started to slip in my grades, the counselors made sure I had support from my family.”
Upward Bound was a major factor for De La Torre in deciding his path after high school.
“Visiting different campuses opened my mind about going to a university instead of community college,” De La Torre said.
De La Torre is thankful for the opportunities provided by Upward Bound.
“I am thankful to give back by being a student assistant and helping others,” De La Torre said.
Luis Portobanco, a CSUSB alumnus, gained knowledge about the college system through Upward Bound.
“Before Upward Bound, I didn’t know what college was,” Portobanco said. “I thought I was going to do what my brothers did, and just get my high school diploma and go straight to work.”
Portobanco graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication Studies, focusing in Public Relations and Human Communication.
“Most our students may not know how to navigate the educational systems, or how to navigate the college-going process,” Hernandez said. “Our students would get lost without our service in place.”