Maren Dawson, in blue, assists Samantha Tatton with her math class at Weber State University on September 10, 2020. Student Support Services at WSU recently received two TRiO grants from the U.S. Department of Education.  The grants fund programs that support low-income, first-generation or disabled Weber State students. Students, including Tatton, are provided with an advisor, tutoring, and sometimes direct financial support, among other services.
Maren Dawson, in blue, assists Samantha Tatton with her math class at Weber State University on September 10, 2020. Student Support Services at WSU recently received two TRiO grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The grants fund programs that support low-income, first-generation or disabled Weber State students. Students, including Tatton, are provided with an advisor, tutoring, and sometimes direct financial support, among other services. Photo credit: WSU

Weber State University is launching a new program in fall 2020 aimed to help disadvantaged students — low income students, first generation students and students with disabilities — in science and math complete their degrees.

The university was awarded $1.3 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education in August. These funds will go to 120 students per year for five years, according to a WSU press release.

The new grant, named SSS – STEM, is a new part of a group of federal educational grant programs called TRiO, administered, funded and implemented by the Department of Education.

The program offers financial help to disadvantaged students in order to increase their odds of success, according to the Department of Education website.

It is more difficult to receive funding for a new program than to refund existing ones, but now Weber State offers the highest number of TRIO programs of any college-level institution in Utah, according to a WSU press release.

WSU has five of the eight federal TRiO programs in total, including Student Support Services, Upward Bound, Veteran’s Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search.

Student Support Services, the preexisting SSS program, serves 285 students each year of any major with $2.4 million awarded by the government for 5 years. The new SSS – STEM grant, however, supports only those degrees of its acronym: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The federal TRiO programs were created in the ‘60s by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his administration’s efforts to combat American poverty, but the STEM grant seems to be focusing on keeping America up to par with our international science and tech rivals.

In Dec. 2018, the committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council released a report titled “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education,” which outlined a vision for the improvement of American education in those four key areas.

“It represents an urgent call to action,” according to ed.gov.

The report stressed the importance of STEM education in the future success of the United States as a global leader.

Students majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics can find out more information about the grant through the school’s financial aid office.

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