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USD receives $3 million TRIO Educational Talent Search Grant

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota recently received a federal grant of $3,086,860 for a five-year period, starting in September 2012, from the Department of Education for continuation of the TRIO Educational Talent Search (TS) program.

USD was one of nearly 1,000 applicants for a TS grant where less than half received funding. The Council for Opportunity in Education, which works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies that host TRIO programs, noted that out of 968 total applications only 435 were funded.

The goal of TS programs is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete secondary school and enroll in and graduate from a postsecondary institution. It provides activities and services for students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, predominantly low income and potential first-generation students (students whose parents or guardians did not receive a four year college degree). To accomplish this, the program provides connections to high quality academic tutoring services and education or counseling services in a number of areas, including but not limited to the college application process, study and learning skills, classroom success strategies, ACT preparation, scholarship research and application and other services designed to improve the financial aid literacy and financial planning for postsecondary education for students and their parents or guardians. More information about the TS, one of the federal TRIO programs administered by the Department of Education, can be found at

USD identifies and recruits students applicable for the TS in collaboration with school counselors and teachers. Along with other eligibility criteria, potential students should have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and an interest in pursuing a postsecondary education.

“The TRIO programs are three of the successful outreach programs overseen by very capable directors, including Marion BlueArm, Talent Search Director, under the direction of Dean Laurie Becvar under the Division of Continuing and Distance Education,” said Chuck Staben, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs. “USD has a long, successful history of serving students via TRIO programs, and we are very pleased to be able to continue this program which can help the state of South Dakota meet its goals in producing higher education graduates.”


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News