Bellevue College has received a nearly $1.5 million federal grant to help students overcome potential disadvantages, succeed in school, and graduate.

The TRIO Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education serves students who are low-income, first-generation (i.e., their parents don’t have a four-year college degree), or have disabilities, according to a news release from the college. The grant helps fund academic advising, tutoring, financial aid guidance, college mentoring, study skills development, and more to 160 students annually.

The college’s TRIO program began in 2001 and has helped 1,471 students. The grant is awarded every five years.

“Students without family guidance or academic preparedness can be at a disadvantage when they enter college,” Barbara Brodsky, director of TRIO Student Support Services, said in the release. “We offer so many classes that it can be hard for them to know which ones to take for their degree. Or they might have never filled out a financial aid form before, or understand how to format a research paper. TRIO helps orient them to college life, and offers support to make sure they’re successful in their studies, and beyond.”

With classes and coursework online this fall, students enrolled in TRIO will have online access to mentors, tutors, and a staff adviser. Weekly Zoom group calls will help them navigate remote instruction and they’ll be able to share experiences, connect with fellow students, and ask questions, the release said.

Students’ success rate soars with access to support services, Brodsky said.

“This award couldn’t come at a better time, and we encourage anyone who might be eligible to learn more on our website and contact us with questions. We’re here to help,” she said.