Virginia Tech’s Talent Search program, which sees more than 80 percent of its participants enroll in colleges or universities after high school graduation,  has been awarded a $1.63 million, five-year extension of its funding grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Kimberly Andrews, the director of TRIO Programs at Virginia Tech, part of Outreach and International Affairs, said, “This additional five years of funding is a testament to the relationships that have been established in our communities and schools with administrators, teachers, and counselors, as well as the consistent work of our staff.”

Talent Search, which began at Virginia Tech in 1973, is a federally funded program designed for students traditionally underrepresented in colleges and universities. The goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.

The program currently serves 680 students in 17 high schools and six middle schools in Southwest Virginia. It involves parents and current Virginia Tech students along with the younger students.

Services provided by Talent Search include college tours and visits; fee waivers for standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT; and application fee waivers. Talent Search also sponsors workshops at the students’ schools covering topics that include career advising, financial literacy, and choice of a college and major.

Through transportation partnerships with the target schools, students can travel to Virginia Tech’s campus monthly to receive tutoring in academic subjects. Parents can attend workshops focused on applying to and paying for college, college admissions, and the transitional senior year.

The Roanoke Times published a feature earlier this fall demonstrating the impact of Talent Search on its participants.

“Our students have the opportunity to experience Tech through collaborations with admissions, financial aid, and service learning with our student Hokies,” Andrews said. “Virginia Tech exposes the students to colleges and universities both in and out of Virginia. Even if Virginia Tech is not their final choice, they recognize that they were able to feel comfortable and confident about pursuing postsecondary education because of their experiences at Virginia Tech.”

Funding renewal for Upward Bound, another TRIO program, is scheduled for spring.


Written by Melissa McKeown

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