CWU News

CWU Awarded $1.4M to Continue Serving Students through TRIO Program

CWU’s TRIO Student Support Services grant has been renewed for another five-year cycle. With the $1.4 million award ($281,219 per year), CWU can continue to help low-income, first-generation, and students with disabilities succeed in college.

The U.S. Education Department awarded $270 million to fund TRIO SSS Programs at 968 institutions. CWU’s program, operating since 1992, is funded to serve 225 students per year. Among the services offered are academic advising and tutoring, career guidance, leadership and service experience, financial literacy programs, and help applying for graduate school.

“This is such an important program to me,” said senior Ayla Medina, a TRIO student since her first year at CWU. It instantly became her strongest support system, helping both emotionally and academically.

“Having a place to go where I feel safe and I feel understood is incredible,” Medina said. “As a first-generation student, I needed information about how college is run and I found it there.”

From 2014-15, CWU’s TRIO SSS students had a 99.5 percent persistence rate and 85.9 percent of them were in good academic standing.

“The program is effective because the staff is very intentional about advancing students’ academic, personal and professional competencies,” said Lorinda Anderson, coordinator of CWU’s TRIO SSS Program. “We are thrilled to be funded for the next five academic years and have already been developing new ways to advance the important mission of this program.”   

Raymond Navarro, director of Academic Achievement Programs at CWU, is elated to receive the highly competitive grant. He said the award is a testament to the leadership of Provost Marilyn Levine, the vision of Dean of Student Success Sarah Swager, and the work of Academic Achievement staff.

“It also speaks to the perseverance of our students,” Navarro said. “We look forward to continuing the long history the TRIO SSS Program has in empowering students to achieve success, realize their potential, and accomplish their personal and professional goals.”

Medina, who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, moved to the United States when she was 8. She is the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college. After earning degrees in psychology and interdisciplinary studies, she wants a career that involves outreach to minority youth and underrepresented populations.

“I hope to get the message across to youth how important it is to get an education and how empowering it feels to have knowledge and be able to speak up for yourself,” Medina said. “I want to show my nieces and nephews that we can be so much more than minimum wage workers and that we are the ones who set our own barriers.”

CWU worked with Hanover Research to prepare the TRIO SSS grant proposal for submission. Hanover provides grant development support to hospitals, higher education institutions, and other non-profit organizations.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

July 28, 2015