Search Google Appliance


Federal grant to PSU provides academic support to disadvantaged students
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: August 17, 2010


Portland State University has been awarded a $1.85 million five-year federal grant to continue providing academic support services to low-income, first-generation and disabled students. 

The TRIO Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education helps 265 students per year stay in college and graduate by giving them comprehensive academic coaching. About 40 students in the program graduate each year.

“The students are given one-on-one guidance on how to navigate academia and a greater understanding of what’s required for college performance,” said Paulette Watanabe, executive director of PSU’s Diversity and Multicultural Student Services. The program does not provide financial support to students.

PSU has been a host institution for federal TRIO grants for more than 30 years, including Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Programs. The TRIO programs, a legacy of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, aim to help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds earn college degrees.

The Student Support Services program is part of PSU’s push to increase retention and graduation rates by giving students more academic support. To that end, the University is doubling its professional advising staff this fall, making orientation mandatory for new students, requiring first-year students to meet with an academic adviser and requiring all students to declare a major by the end of their second year. In addition, a new initiative will provide more support to Latino students starting this fall.

For information on applying to PSU's Student Support Services program, go to or call 503-725-3815.