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New TRiO Funding for Underrepresented Students

The University of Colorado Denver TRiO program has been awarded a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair program). Beginning this fall, TRiO now supports two programs—the original TRiO Student Support Services (TRiO SSS) and the new McNair program.

Support for future doctoral students

The McNair program is designed to encourage low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider teaching careers in higher education as well as prepare them for doctoral study. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.

Currently, there are 151 projects across the country serving more than 4,300 students. According to recent performance data, in 2013-14, 69 percent of McNair participants who graduated in 2010 - 2011 were enrolled in graduate school.

Student qualifications

​The recruitment of CU Denver juniors and seniors to participate in the new program will begin soon. To be considered, the students must have an end goal of pursuing a research-based PhD or EdD and have a 3.0 grade point average or better. And, while there will be an emphasis on recruiting students in STEM disciplines, the opportunity won’t be limited to just that one student population. 

TRiO Director Teresa De Herrera is serving as the Director and Principal Investigator of
the McNair Program at CU Denver and says the grant will fund 25 low-income, first-generation and/or underrepresented minority students each year. She invites the faculty to participate in the student recruitment process and as McNair scholar mentors.

Campus partners and support

“The McNair Program will work with many campus partners including the Experiential Learning Center, the Learning Resource Center and undergraduate research programs to provide rigorous yet supportive training for entrance and completion of doctoral study,” De Herrera said. “The services we’ll offer to STEM students specifically are designed to increase the rate of science, technology, engineering and math doctorates awarded to those groups which are underrepresented in graduate education.”

Department of Education

The McNair program is part of the Department of Education’s TRiO program, a series of federally-funded programs established by Congress in 1965 to help first-generation, low-income Americans enter college, graduate and go on to make contributions in their chosen fields.


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