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In the Classroom

There are a number of ways Western Michigan University elevates the educational experience at WMU; TRiO, part of the Center for Academic Success Programs, is just one example of how we work to ensure academic success.

The TRiO Student Student Success program is one of 10 programs that operate under the Center for Academic Success Programs at WMU. This learning community, funded by the U.S. Department of Education for 210 students, helps first-generation, income-eligible, and students with disabilities complete their undergraduate degrees.

At WMU, TRiO is helping elevate student success for many individuals, including Camille Frazier, a transfer student. She heard about the program from a friend and former TRiO participant, who told her about the kind of support they offered--how they help facilitate student engagement and community involvement opportunities, and get students acclimated to university life and their new home on campus and in Kalamazoo.

Camille Frazier

“It appealed to my needs, so I applied as soon as I could. I went to student orientation and sought out for TRiO staff and introduced myself, and it’s been an awesome part of my academic development ever since,” Frazier said. 

In the 2018-19 academic year, WMU TRiO reported that 83% of TRiO students were in good academic standing, the average cumulative GPA was 2.9, and nearly half of all students enrolled had a GPA of 3.0 or above.

“Just knowing I have someone to turn to for assistance relieves me of all the stress of going through college alone,” Frazier explained. “TRiO offers me a place to come and relax between classes to do my homework assignments and study, print, copy and fax, and get quick snacks for when I didn’t have enough time to grab breakfast. It’s an all-around welcoming environment that supports my study needs.”

Frazier says TRiO has helped her become more engaged on campus in addition to helping her learn more about Kalamazoo through volunteer opportunities. She’s obtained scholarships and stayed on track to graduation through encouragement to meet with her academic and TRiO advisors.

“I have gotten nothing short of constant support from TRiO,” she said.

Each fall semester TRiO registers approximately 60-70 first-time freshmen in its program. The eligibility requirements for the program are: first-generation (neither parent has graduated from a four-year college or university), income eligible with academic need and students with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education has determined that first-generation, income eligible students are an at-risk population that will have difficulty accomplishing their goal of graduation without support services. 

“It’s important for WMU to provide these resources such as TRiO because as college students, whether it’s your first time coming into college, learning independence, or you’re on your last lap, we need as much help and support we can get,” Frazier said. “It’s pertinent for students coming from low income families or first-generation students to have a system that supports, encourages and elevates us right now, and that has a lasting effect even after graduation and into different aspects of our lives.”

Frazier says this means personal development such as working with students from different cultures and backgrounds, how to maneuver college such as speaking with advisors to make well round decisions or attending workshops, and how to obtain financial security through scholarships and budgeting workshops-- as well as seeking a better understanding of personal financial standing.

“Broncos are being taken care of on a personal level, meaning the staff at TRiO are genuine and they are compassionate about helping WMU students from low income families and/or first-generation students obtain their degree with the support they need to stay focused and on the road to success,” Frazier said

“People need to know that WMU has chosen amazing staff that are great resources who aid to the success of TRiO students, contribute to the elevation of our accomplishments and truly care about our wellbeing and academic success.”

The Center for Academic Success Programs is just one example of how WMU is working to elevate the student success in the classroom. Click below to view other areas where you can make difference for students. 

Elevate with a Gift

Learn more about the Center for Academic Success Programs