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MSU to Host KY TRIO Day for Disadvantaged Students

Melpomen, 123RF STOCK PHOTO

Students across Kentucky meet this month at Murray State University to take part in an effort to to close the financial gap between low-income youth and their well-off peers.

Poverty is often a barrier between educational opportunities and disadvantaged students in Kentucky. Federal TRIO programs provide educational assistance to underprivileged students and individuals with disabilities. Former Kentucky TRIO association president Chris George said individuals in poverty may have to chose between basic needs and education, with the fear of debt looming overhead.

“You’re seeing more and more students just priced out of college. They just can’t afford to pay the tuition because the pell grant has been devalued. Then the opportunities just are not there for them because of application fees, meal plans, housing, books--and a lot of times they just don’t have the money to pay for their education,” George said.

According the Institute for Higher Education Policy, low-income students face greater academic and financial challenges, which can hinder progress towards a degree. National Center for Children in Poverty research shows 48 percent of children in Kentucky are low-income.


Mary Jo Wallace, the advising specialist at a Murray State TRIO program, said TRIO helps students by providing services to aid in their educational success. She said one of the services offered are weekly coaching sessions for students on probation.

“Last semester I met with a young lady who had failed every class the semester before and this past year she was able to get all A’s and B’s. I was very proud of her for that and I would like to think our coaching has helped her do that,” Wallace said.

Some 400 students are expected to attend Murray State’s Trio Day on February 25.

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