While some tout President Barack Obama's 2013 budget request for making education a top priority ("President Obama's budget calls for big investment in education," Feb. 13), the proposed plan failed to include an increase for the federally funded TRIO programs. This omission, with congressional approval, would immediately affect tens of thousands of underserved students, adult learners and veterans, including many in South Carolina.
Only 38 percent of students from low-income families go straight to college, and many are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Lacking adequate financial aid and the academic assistance and support to complete their studies, they earn bachelor degrees at a rate far below that of their high-income peers, hurting their future earning potential and ability to contribute productively.
South Carolina's TRIO programs ensure that young Americans -- regardless of family income level -- have access to the right tools and guidance to obtain a college education by providing tutoring, counseling and mentoring, financial guidance and other resources.
At the Technical College of the Lowcountry, we serve 1,035 students annually and provide them with tutoring, guidance on completing financial aid and college admission forms and other forms of academic assistance. We also provide counseling services and refer students to community agencies that can assist with a plethora of varying issues and concerns.
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Our community is extremely disappointed in the administration's failure to recognize TRIO's impact. We hope to see an increase in funding for the critical academic and support services TRIO programs provide.
Rodney E. Adams