Texarkana College Trustees Receive Notice of Renewal of Federal TRIO Grant Awards to Assist Area Students with College Entry


At Monday’s board meeting, Texarkana College trustees received news of the renewal notice from the U.S. Department of Education for TC’s Talent Search program and the Education Opportunity Center (EOC) program which are both funded on five-year cycles through competitive, federal TRIO grants. Talent Search has been awarded $352,841 a year for five years for a total of $1,764,205, and EOC has been funded for $273,753 a year for five years for a total of $1,368,765. Dr. Donna McDaniel, TC’s Vice President of Instruction, said the goal of all TRIO programs is to increase the number of disadvantaged, first-generation students who complete a higher education degree or certificate.

“TC has a long history of providing services through the federal TRIO grant programs,” McDaniel said. “Although the goals of both grants enable TC to assist students with college entry and success, the Talent Search program works with middle and high school students and the EOC program focuses on providing services to the adult learner who is 19 years or older.”

McDaniel said TC has facilitated the Talent Search program for over 20 years and has helped tens of thousands of middle and high school students become college ready.

“Our goal through the Talent Search program is to assure participants are taking the proper steps toward building impressive college resumes and have access to cultural and educational experiences to keep them motivated throughout high school,” said McDaniel. “TC’s Talent Search Education Specialists grow relationships with the students who come to rely on them to answer their questions and concerns about how to best prepare for higher education. Students can enter the program at any grade level, but we like to recruit in middle school and 9th grade to help coach the students throughout their high school years and put them on track to graduate with rigorous diplomas.”

Talent Search partners with eight independent school districts: Texarkana Texas ISD, Texarkana Arkansas ISD, Liberty-Eylau ISD, Atlanta ISD, Queen City ISD, DeKalb ISD, Hooks ISD, and New Boston ISD.

McDaniel said TC was awarded their first EOC grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 and has served more than 4,500 participants since that time.

“TC’s EOC staff assists adult learners with GED completion, college admissions, financial aid applications, and guidance on enrollment at the post-secondary institution of their choice,” said McDaniel. “Over the last five years, TC’s EOC program has successfully enrolled 2,054 students from Bowie and Cass Counties in a post-secondary institution of their choice and has provided access to over $250,000 in scholarship monies For this next round of funding which begins September 1, 2021, the grant allows us to serve an extended geographic area which includes communities within Little River, Miller, and Hempstead counties of Arkansas along with continued services to Bowie and Cass counties in Texas. More than 1,000 participants will be impacted annually by EOC grant services.”

McDaniel attributes the success of the programs and the continued federal funding to TC’s dedicated staff who facilitates the programs.

“I cannot say enough about the outstanding leadership and service demonstrated by TC’s TRIO staff members,” said McDaniel. “Lee Williams, III, Executive Director of Retention, Student Success, and EOC, has taken the EOC program to a level that surpasses many long-standing programs across the nation. The heart of all of our TRIO programs is the individualized advising and assistance provided by our qualified and caring specialists.”

McDaniel said Dr. Tonja Mackey, Dean of Library and Learning Support, oversees all of TC’s TRIO programs and has led the staff toward meeting grant goals and securing continued funding for another five years.

“Dr. Mackey’s leadership along with the incredible service provided by all TRIO staff members is a winning combination for students and our community,” said McDaniel.

For more information about services available through the TRIO programs at TC, please visit the college websitewww.texarkanacollege.edu, find the programs on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TalentSearchTC or https://www.facebook.com/eocattc, or call 903-823-3456.

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