Cal Poly TRIO Achievers Awarded Multiyear Department of Education Grant

SAN LUIS OBISPO –– Cal Poly’s TRIO Achievers, federally known as Student Support Services, recently secured a new five-year grant totaling $1.72 million from the Department of Education. 

The multiyear federal grant allows the program to continue its annual mission of supporting at least 258 first-generation, low-income students, as well as students with disabilities, through the 2024-25 academic year.

In addition, the grant supports approximately 20 students as peer mentors and student assistants, two full-time staff, and one half-time staff position.

Founded in 1984 at Cal Poly, TRIO Achievers provides eligible students with grant aid, cultural events and activities, academic tutoring and advising, and graduate/professional school advising and preparation. In addition, the program offers a variety of academic resources, including laptop/technology rentals, a book lending library, quarterly workshops and academic supplies.

“We are excited and grateful to be able to continue this important work for our students and campus partners,” said Ethny Stewart, director of TRIO Achievers. “Our program has a proven track record in supporting students in their persistence and degree attainment, and this generous grant renewal will allow us to continue this core mission throughout their time at Cal Poly.” 

The multiyear grant includes a 3.5 percent increase over the program’s 2019-20 base funding amount.

“This renewed funding is critical in supporting students from underserved backgrounds as they work toward attaining their degree,” said Debi Hill, who oversees Cal Poly’s TRIO programs in her role as associate vice president for Student Affairs, Equity and Transition. “For many of the students served, TRIO Achievers is much more than a resource for academic support. To them, it’s a home away from home with a community of peers who have shared experiences.”

Added Alexa Marquez, a senior TRIO Achievers student majoring in aerospace engineering: “Many of the relationships I've built with people of similar backgrounds and struggles have been because of this program. As soon as I entered Cal Poly, TRIO gave me a community that has been there to this day. I’m very grateful for the resources they’ve provided for us to succeed academically and professionally, from etiquette dinners and resume workshops, to exciting trips up and down California.”

For more information on TRIO Achievers, visit

Contact: Diego Abeloos

August 18, 2020 

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