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In 1989, Susan C. Brown, then director of the Center for Learning Assistance (CLA), saw a need to help low-income and first-generation students in grades nine-12 and applied for the first TRIO Upward Bound grant at New Mexico State University. More than 30 years later, the program continues to help local high school students and has expanded across Doña Ana County and beyond.
The United States Department of Education has awarded NMSU $5.2 million in federal grants for the TRIO Upward Bound Programs. NMSU received a five-year grant renewal for $457,674 per year to work with Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden Independent School District (GISD) high schools, which was the target of Brown’s first grant. NMSU also has received renewals for a pair of five-year grants for $297,601 each to continue the programs that began in 2017 at high schools in Hatch and Alamogordo.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that,” said Brown, who retired from NMSU in 2006. “TRIO is a well-structured program that provides true guidance to really help students and it also helped develop relationships with the high schools.”
Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program is comprised of seven national programs that help low-income and first-generation students attend and graduate from college. The Las Cruces and Gadsden program serves 90 students, while 60 students in Hatch and Alamogordo are supported each year.
Brown, who began working as a graduate assistant in the center, went on to lead CLA to include five programs that provide academic support to students. She also was very active in the national TRIO organization and often visited government leaders in Washington, D.C. to educate and emphasize the significance of the programs.
With the most recent grant renewal, the TRIO Upward Bound program at NMSU will now provide services to eight high schools with the addition of GISD’s Chaparral High School.
For more information, visit https://trioub.nmsu.edu.