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Federal TRIO Program to give millions of dollars to college students

Representative Henry Cuellar announced Monday that Laredo College and TAMIU will receive nearly $1.5 million each over the next five years to help first-generation, low income and disabled students.
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 11:00 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) -More funds are making their way to the gateway city, this time millions of dollars for college students.

Representative Henry Cuellar announced Monday that Laredo College and TAMIU will receive nearly $1.5 million each over the next five years to help first-generation, low income and disabled students.

The funds come from the Federal TRIO Program, which one student says changed her life.

“Without the Trio help, I would not be able to graduate college at all.”

Leslie Jazmin Izaguirre graduated from Texas A&M International University in May, the first in her family to earn a college degree.

As a first generation student with parents still in Mexico, she knew the road ahead would be challenging.

“It is really hard for [my parents] to get those funds because they live in Mexico, and the working wages over there are very low. Imagine earning a couple of pesos and then converting it to dollars, it would be minimum, so the scholarships really helped me a lot.”

Leslie received tuition and other scholarships through the U.S. Department of Education TRIO Program.

The program also provides students with tutoring, academic coaching, and other resources.

“I remember going to the office for the very first time with my mother, and the coordinator told my mother, ‘Oh, don’t worry about her. We’ll take care of your little girl.’ And they did. They truly did.”

Leslie is one of more than 1,000 TAMIU students who have received assistance through TRIO since it began in 2001.

The newly announced funds will help 160 students over the next five years, and some will receive aid as early as this September.

“This program has really provided a lot of opportunities and will continue to provide a lot of opportunities for young people who need to navigate the college experience in a very different way,” said Doctor Pablo Arenaz, president of TAMIU.

Laredo College will be able to support approximately 300 students with these funds.

President Doctor Ricardo Solis, president of Laredo College, says 90% of their students work part or full time, so financial support is essential to their success.

“Jobs come first and family second,” said Doctor Solis. “Right now, that’s what their focus is on, so this funding is going to allow us to have our people work with them closely and most importantly convince the students to continue their studies.”

Leslie now works as a second grade teacher at Milton Elementary here in Laredo. She encourages anyone who qualifies for TRIO to apply.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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