The US Department of Education announced that the TRIO talent search program at Murray State would receive $ 554,750 to help low-income students.
Talent Search, which has been operating in Murray since 2016, helps first-generation low-income students prepare for college. The program is one of eight TRIO programs.
The grants will be divided equally between Talent Search East and Talent Search West. Talent Search East helps 500 students in school districts in Christian, Todd and Trigg counties.
Talent Search West will help 500 students in school districts in Carlisle County, Fulton County, Hickman County, Mayfield, Mayfield Independent and Paducah.
“Our goal is to help students develop academically, socially and emotionally to prepare for post-secondary education,” said Audrey Neal, Director of Talent Search. “We help them through the process of entering post-secondary education and graduating successfully.
The money pays for program staff, services, resources and supplies to help tap the talent search, Neal said.
The majority of students who seek help from Talent Search attend college after high school. In 2020, more than 309,000 students were enrolled in talent research programs in the United States.
Students and their families must be at least 150% below the poverty line to be eligible for TRIO aid, according to the US Department of Education.
“The Talent Scholarship serves more students and a larger program area than other programs due to the nature of the program,” said Murray State TRIO Director Melissa Cooper.
The money Talent Search has received, Cooper says, will help encourage students to reach out. She said that more relationships can be established with the participants.
One Murray State student who has received assistance from Talent Search is Alexandria Riddle, major in agricultural science.
“I went through a lot of financial difficulties growing up,” said Riddle. “I didn’t have much and programs like TRIO have helped me be where I am today.
Riddle says she plans to graduate in December. When she graduates, she will be the first member of her family to receive a college education.
Riddle attended TRIO ACT training camp while in high school. ACT Boot Camp is intended to teach study skills and prepare students for ACT.
Riddle says she was employed by TRIO as a student for over a year, adding that all of the staff were considerate and helped her through high school and college.
Riddle said all students who are having financial difficulties should contact TRIO. She said there are many resources available and they can help many students as they have helped her.
“This program is designed to help students like me be successful,” said Riddle. “Work hard and never give up.”