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CCRI receives grant to sustain critical college access and planning support program 

July 22, 2016

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The Community College of Rhode Island has been awarded a $476,854 federal Educational Talent Search grant to help more Rhode Island students stay in school and overcome barriers to higher education, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced this week.

Educational Talent Search is a federally funded program designed to provide personalized services for educational success beyond high school. The program encourages low-income and first-generation college students to consider college opportunities while they are in secondary schools and helps them complete college and financial aid applications.

The Rhode Island Educational Talent Search (RIETS) program at CCRI provides a range of support services for students in grades 6 through 12, including help with study skills, test preparation, career counseling and assistance in applying for financial aid. While the program serves the entire state, it provides extensive and comprehensive services in Central Falls, Providence and Woonsocket and is projected to reach over 1,000 students in the coming year.

"CCRI does a terrific job of reaching out to students and providing them with opportunities for academic development. This federal funding will enable CCRI to reach more young people, help them stay in school, and achieve their goals in the classroom and beyond," said Reed. As a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, he helped secure a $60 million increase for fiscal year 2016 for the TRIO programs, which include Talent Search. "The Talent Search program prepares students to succeed beyond high school and beyond what they thought possible."

Whitehouse said every student deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education. "CCRI's Talent Search program is providing a pathway to college for low-income students who are at risk of not applying. I'm glad this federal funding will help more young Rhode Islanders follow their dreams, and congratulate Congressman Langevin on his relentless support of career readiness."

Langevin, who co-chairs the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, said: "Low-income students, particularly those in low-performing schools, face an uphill battle when it comes to pursuing higher education. We must break the cycle and provide the resources and support necessary to put young people on a path to success. I commend CCRI on the progress of the Talent Search program thus far, and I congratulate them on winning this grant so that they can continue to identify, support and empower promising students who will become Rhode Island's educators, innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow."

Cicilline said that too often, promising low-income middle and high school students fall behind and ultimately miss the opportunity to go to college. "CCRI's Rhode Island Education Talent Search prevents these students from falling through the cracks by identifying them at an early age and providing them the resources they need to make a successful jump to higher education. I am pleased that this federal funding will allow the Community College to continue to support Rhode Island students and strengthen our economy by providing opportunities to so many young, talented Rhode Islanders."

The RIETS program serves the entire state, while providing extensive services in 10 target schools in Central Falls, Providence, and Woonsocket. More than 40 percent of the families in these communities live at or below 150 percent of poverty, and 76 percent of adults age 25 and older have not attained a bachelor's degree in these cities.

"A strong college education equips students with enduring, powerful skills of inquiry, communication and critical thought, and CCRI's TRIO Talent Search program plays an essential role in helping middle and high school students realize they have endless potential to succeed and improve their lives through higher education," said Dr. Meghan Hughes, CCRI president. "We are thrilled that this grant award will allow the program to continue its 25-year tradition of providing critical college access and planning support services to more than 1,000 students from Central Falls, Providence and Woonsocket."

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Last Updated: 9/5/19