Laurel Ridge’s TRIO program receives $1.47 million in federal funds

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For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2020

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

TRIO first-gen

Laurel Ridge’s most vulnerable students’ needs will continue to be met thanks to additional funding in the form of a federal Student Support Services (SSS) grant of $1.47 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Each year between this fall and August 2025, $294,725 will be distributed to the college’s TRIO program on the Middletown Campus.

The TRIO program serves students who are low-income, first-generation college students, or students who have a disability. Currently, there are 160 students participating in the program.

“Our TRIO program offers specialized services, including academic advising, transfer planning, tutoring, financial aid assistance, financial literacy and college success skills to our students,” said Sarah Eaton, director of student support services at Laurel Ridge. “Additionally, we can help with emergency funding, individualized coaching, and socio-cultural opportunities. Our students also get their own lounge space on campus.

“We are so grateful for this grant award, which will go a long way towards helping more students meet their educational and career aspirations.”

Title IV of the Higher Education Act authorizes TRIO programs, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Education via a vigorous grant competition held every five years, as well as yearly congressional appropriations.

The college received its first TRIO grant in 2001. The size of that grant was $219,362.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which keep promising students from succeeding in college. Student Support Services is needed now more than ever,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunity, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit dedicated to expanding college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and those with disabilities.

Begun in 1968, SSS is one of eight federal TRIO programs authorized by the Higher Education Act. Recognizing that students whose parents lack a college degree have a harder time navigating the complexity of decisions required for college success, the SSS bolsters students who haven’t had the same academic opportunities as other college students, and helps remove barriers to thriving academically that students with disabilities may face.

The comprehensive services offered through SSS increase the likelihood that students will graduate or transfer to a four-year school with the lowest possible debt.

Among the alumni counted by SSS are Emmy, Tony and Academy Award winner Viola Davis; Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Hispanic astronaut; and U.S. Rep. (R-WI) Gwendolynn Moore.

Students interested in learning more about the TRIO program or applying should visit

Pictured:  Laurel Ridge employees who are first-generation college students. TRIO supports students who are first-generation college students, are low-income or have a disability.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.