Grant to Fund UM TRiO Student Support Services for Five More Years

July 16, 2015

MISSOULA – Low-income and first-generation college students, as well as students with documented disabilities, will continue to receive crucial college prep assistance through 2020 thanks to a renewed grant to fund the TRiO Student Support Services program at the University of Montana.

Darlene Samson, director of UM’s TRiO SSS program, recently received a letter from the office of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester confirming the program received more than $2 million in funding for the next five years.

“For more than 30 years the University of Montana’s TRiO program has given hard-working students the opportunity to attend college,” Tester said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I proudly support TRiO funding so more students can attend the University of Montana and take another step toward being the first ones in their family to graduate from college.” 

TRiO SSS is a U.S. Department of Education-funded program that serves students attending a four-year college. The students are from low-income families, families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree, or are students with documented disabilities. The program’s main goal is to increase the rate of participants graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree. It is a component of eight federal TRiO Programs, designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Samson said TRiO SSS consistently shows strong results data. At the end of 2014, 91 percent of students participating in the program were in good academic standing, 81 percent persist from year-to-year and 39 percent graduate.

“I honestly would not have remained in college if not for the support and help I’ve received from TRiO SSS,” said UM student Kara Joyce.

All Montana programs had their funding renewed. More than 2,000 students will have an opportunity to participate in TRiO SSS programs. Annual funding of combined Student Support Services will bring about $4 million to support post-secondary education in the state of Montana.

For more information on UM’s program, visit

Contact: Darlene Samson, director, TRiO Student Support Services at UM, 406-243-4199,