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UC Merced center gets $3.4M to help Le Grand High students

UC Merced said students from Le Grand High School are getting extra help in preparing for college, thanks to a federal grant received by the Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) at the university.

The center has been awarded grants totaling more than $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Talent Search program. That program is intended to increase the number of low-income and first-generation college students by helping them complete high school and enroll in and complete a postsecondary education.

One grant — totaling $1.15 million — will be directed to support students from Le Grand High School disadvantaged backgrounds at attend post-secondary education.

“Receiving these grants reflects the increased recognition of the outstanding work that the center is doing with the K-12 system up and down the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jane F. Lawrence, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We are thrilled to be able to further these necessary programs so that more students will have the means to graduate from high school and continue on to postsecondary school.”

The five-year grants will support academic, college preparation and financial counseling for about 1,500 high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education.

In addition to Le Grand, the new grants will allow the program to work with students from Corcoran, Delhi, Farmersville, Fresno, Orestimba, Roosevelt and Strathmore high schools.

“These new grants will enable us to expand our existing program into new schools and affect the lives of more students,” said Orquidea Largo, interim director for the program. “The program provides a strong parent component, to help them become their child’s advisor and advocate.”Through the Talent Search program, students learn about financial aid opportunities and are walked through the college application process.

Program participants must meet federally outlined eligibility guidelines, which include being a citizen or national of the U. S., a permanent resident of the U.S., and being considered low-income and a potential first-generation high school student (neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree).Some 600 area high school students are benefiting from the first four-year grant the CEP received from the Department of Education in 2006 to launch the Talent Search program at Delhi, Le Grand, Orestimba, El Diamante, Strathmore and Corcoran high schools.

For more information about UC Merced’s Talent Search program, call (559) 241-7476.Sun-Star staff