PSU receives $1.7 million federal grant for student success program
Author: University Communications
Posted: August 21, 2015

Portland State University has been awarded a $1.7 million five-year federal grant to continue providing 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 providing services such as academic advising, scholarship assistance, college success workshops, writing support and financial literacy training. 

The support has helped students such as Yvette Perez-Chavez — the youngest of five children of Mexican immigrants — stay on track to graduate. After Yvette transferred to PSU from Modesto Junior College in California, TRIO advisers helped her set up a financial aid package, win two scholarships, change her major and create an education plan.

Yvette (pictured right) graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and now works with College Possible through AmeriCorps as a college coach helping other low-income students navigate the college system.

“I consider myself extremely lucky to have stumbled upon the TRIO-Student Support Services program early on in my college career,” she said. “I am grateful to have received the encouragement and support that has led me this far.”

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. 

Kimberly Gottshalk, another TRIO student (pictured left), dropped out of college ten years ago because she couldn’t afford it. Two years ago, she decided to give higher education another try, beginning at Portland Community College. Within a year, she co-enrolled at PSU, connected with the TRIO program and received one-on-one support that she says has been “invaluable.” 

Now she is an Honors student majoring in environmental science and biology with plans to apply to PhD programs in the next year.

“I have friendly faces in the university that I can come to with questions and that are here to help me achieve success,” she says. “The TRIO Student Support Services program has been a blessing, and I am thankful for the continued support by the U.S. Department of Education to fund programs that help students like me reach our full potential.” 

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