GVSU sign outside Detroit Center building; construction in background

GVSU earns federal grant to establish TRIO program in Detroit

Top photo: The Detroit TRIO Upward Bound program will be housed in GVSU's Detroit Center on Madison Street.


Grand Valley received a five-year, $1.4 million federal grant to establish a TRIO program in Detroit designed to create a successful college-going culture for high school students who would be the first in their families to attend college.

The Detroit TRIO Upward Bound program will serve 60 students in ninth-12th grades from three schools in Detroit: University Preparatory Academy, University Prep Science and Math, and University Prep Art and Design. All three schools are among the charter schools authorized by GVSU.

TRIO Upward Bound programs serve high school students from low-income families and those who would be first-generation college students. Program staff work in partner high schools four days a week, providing workshops and tutoring services to students. Upward Bound participants attend college tours, cultural field trips and a five-week summer residential program.

President Philomena V. Mantella noted this is Grand Valley's ninth TRIO program, aligning with the university's strategic goals to open access to higher education while meeting the needs of state residents.

"We want to help students reach their full potential by removing any barriers so they can enroll in college and be successful," Mantella said. "Establishing a TRIO Upward Bound office in Detroit continues our important work of advancing educational equity and empowering student voice."

John Johnson, director of postsecondary and alumni affairs for University Preparatory Academy, said the schools are excited to partner with TRIO and GVSU. "Through this partnership we hope to strengthen our proactive college-going model by introducing students to postsecondary education at an earlier stage in their high school tenure and equip them with college readiness skills that will result in their success in college and beyond," Johnson said.

Nykia Gaines, assistant vice president for federal TRIO programs, said the Detroit program will be operational by the fall. It will be housed in the GVSU Detroit Center, 163 Madison St., and three people will be hired to manage the program.

Gaines is a Detroit native and first-generation college student. "Receiving this grant and having a location in my hometown is heartwarming and humbling," she said. "This is why I love TRIO; it provides access to a post-secondary education and removes barriers for first-generation students to reach their true potential."

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said the new Detroit staff members, like all TRIO employees, will be on the front lines of providing resources and guidance to help students succeed in high school and beyond.

"We know the keys to help learners achieve success and this Detroit Upward Bound program is an example of a very intentional, hands-on approach to supporting students," Truss said. "Staff members meet students where they are to help them navigate new systems and environments."

Grand Rapids TRIO Upward Bound

Grand Valley's Grand Rapids TRIO Upward Bound program has been federally funded since 1978. It recently received a five-year, $2.5 million renewal grant to continue serving 100 students at two Grand Rapids Public Schools.