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OSU awarded $1.4M to help low-income, first-generation students access higher education

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 8176802176 |

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Oklahoma State University’s federal Talent Search grant will be refunded for five years in the amount of $1.4M. This grant helps low-income and first-generation students earn their high school degrees and find their path to college. 

Over the last five years, the OSU Talent Search project helped more than 200 students prepare for, apply to and succeed in college. Since its inception at OSU, the project has maintained a 98% four-year high school graduation rate.  

A Federal TRIO Program, Talent Search identifies middle and high school students and provides them with counseling as well as information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs to help them better understand their educational opportunities and options. At least two-thirds of the students in the Talent Search program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree. 

Talent Search began in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. It was the second of eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in pursuing a bachelor’s degree. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree often encounter more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires. The program helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

“Being able to continue our efforts to provide workshops and sessions on such topics as career exploration, academic advising (college prep versus tech prep), goal setting, critical thinking and decision-making skills, study skills, test-taking tips, and college admissions and financial aid is extremely exciting,” said Dr. Clyde C. Wilson Jr., assistant vice president for institutional diversity. This grant affords us with additional resources to carry out the university’s land grant mission.

“This $1.4M federal grant program is a great example of an effective partnership between OSU and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare underrepresented students across the state for college, career and life success. We are proud to have Talent Search, as well as three additional TRIO programs, housed within the Division of Institutional Diversity,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president for institutional diversity and the chief diversity officer at OSU.

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