Cal Lutheran receives $1.2M federal grant

TRIO programs will now reach county's junior highs

Students will attend workshops and receive individualized academic, financial, career and personal counseling. 

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 21, 2016) The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California Lutheran University a $1.2 million grant to provide Ventura County’s only federal TRIO program serving middle school students.

The Talent Search program targets disadvantaged middle school and high school students, helping them to success in high school and college. Cal Lutheran will serve 500 South Oxnard students annually over the next five years with the grant. One hundred will be chosen from Channel Islands High School and another 100 from Hueneme High School. Sixty will be selected from each of the high schools’ feeder schools - Blackstock Junior High, E.O. Green Junior High, Haydock Junior High, Lemonwood School and Ocean View Junior High.

The launch of the new program will more than triple the number of pre-college students that the university serves through federal TRIO grants. The university already has two traditional Upward Bound programs and an Upward Bound Math Science program for disadvantaged high school students. To help low-income Cal Lutheran students graduate, it has a federal TRIO program called Student Support Services.

Talent Search targets low-income students who have the potential to succeed in higher education but would be in the first generation of their families to attend college or other postsecondary education programs.

Cal Lutheran decided to serve South Oxnard because of the area’s high poverty, student-to-counselor ratios and dropout rates and its low standardized test scores, rates of participation in rigorous courses, and numbers of college graduates. Only 28 percent of seniors from the target high schools are eligible to apply for four-year California colleges and universities, 13 percent lower than the state average. Illustrating the area’s high need, Cal Lutheran has had to turn away nearly 150 Upward Bound applicants from Channel Islands and Hueneme high schools annually during the last three years. The students denied admission this year will now be offered the opportunity to participate in Talent Search.

Beginning in September, participating students will receive information and support to help them graduate from high school and college. Students will attend workshops and receive individualized academic, financial, career and personal counseling. Staff members will also organize visits to college campuses and assist students as they prepare for college entrance exams, apply for college admission and financial aid, and transition from junior high to high school and from high school to college.

The university will hire a director and two academic specialists to administer the program as well as part-time instructors, mentors and tutors. 

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