KU resecures $8M in federal funds for 4 Educational Opportunity Programs

A TRIO student and their child celebrating graduation. Credit: Laura Kingston, CEOP.

LAWRENCE - The Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) has recently secured over $8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the University of Kansas can continue to help first-generation and low-income students not only reach college but also be successful once they get there.

A McNair Scholar presenting their undergraduate research at the McNair Research Symposium. Credit: Laura Kingston, CEOP.Under the leadership of CEOP director Ngondi Kamaṱuka, the university received funding to continue four highly successful TRIO programs: KU TRIO McNair Scholars Program, KU TRIO Veterans Upward Bound and two Upward Bound Math & Science grants.

“TRIO programs provide the support systems that make positive differences and ultimately lead to success,” Kamaṱuka said. “At the University of Kansas, we have multiple college access and educational equity programs that allow for support across the spectrum of needs. This resecured funding allows CEOP to continue supporting high schoolers, veterans, student-parents and undergraduate researchers.”

KU TRIO McNair Scholars Program

Established at KU in 1992, the KU TRIO McNair Scholars Program provides low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students with the necessary skills, resources and support to prepare and earn placement in graduate programs to pursue doctorates.

A McNair Scholar studying. Credit: Laura Kingston, CEOP.For 30 years, the legacy of the McNair Scholars program has worked to diversify academic and research fields by preparing undergraduate students for graduate school through scholarly activities and research opportunities. Under the current leadership of Mulubrhan Lemma, the most recent five-year award of $1.6 million will continue supporting 31 Jayhawks annually.

“KU students who qualify for the TRIO McNair Scholars Program have a strong research potential. Their personal narrative greatly influences their academic interests and a commitment to create new legacies for their communities,” Lemma said. “Qualifying for McNair Scholars program indicates a strong academic potential and deep commitment to a rigorous and challenging academic track.”


The Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program supports eligible student-parents with child care needs and provides student success programming. CCAMPIS, a federally funded program established at KU in 2018, will support eligible undergraduate and graduate students who have a child enrolled at Hilltop Child Development Center.

The new CCAMPIS director, Tonya Waller, brings 19 years of experience working for CEOP, most recently as director of a GEAR UP program serving students in Topeka.

“I am very excited to serve in this new capacity as CCAMPIS director,” Waller said. “This program will provide invaluable service and support for our student-parents in their degree attainment while mitigating the stress associated with finding and maintaining high-quality, affordable and accessible child care.”

The most recent four-year award of $1.8 million will continue the CCAMPIS partnership with Hilltop to provide financial support to 30 KU student-parents, allowing them to focus on education without having to worry about affording child care, thereby increasing the likelihood of degree completion.

KU TRIO Veterans Upward Bound

Established in 1999, the KU TRIO Veterans Upward Bound Program (VUB) has a long legacy of serving veterans in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, including Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Jackson, Cass and Clay counties in Missouri.

As an education and skills program designed specifically to serve the needs of today's veterans, VUB annually supports 125 veterans by offering a range of valuable resources: advising, counseling and expertise to help discover personal paths to success.

The $1.5 million, five-year grant will continue VUB’s legacy of preparing veterans for success at any stage of their educational journey of beginning or returning to postsecondary education.

KU TRIO Upward Bound Math-Science

The university has received $3 million for two TRIO Upward Bound Math-Science grants designed to strengthen participating students’ math and science skills.

Known as the Math & Science Center, one grant will provide services to 66 high school students who are at Highland Park, Topeka, Lawrence, J.C. Harmon or Washington high schools. The other grant, known as KU Upward Bound Math & Science, serves 60 students at Leavenworth and Turner high schools.

Together, these grants will help students from five Kansas counties recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science with the ultimate goal of securing careers in those areas.

“I want to make sure Kansans have access to high-quality higher education but also find success,” Kamaṱuka said. “Access isn’t enough if students don’t also have support. We provide decades of evidence-based support that is personalized to the unique needs of today’s students. KU’s TRIO programs will help the university work toward that goal.”

Top image: A TRIO student and their child celebrating graduation. 
Top right image: A McNair Scholar presenting their undergraduate research at the McNair Research Symposium.
Bottom right image: A McNair Scholar studying.
Credit (all images): Laura Kingston, Center for Educational Opportunity Programs.

Wed, 09/28/2022


Laura Kingston

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Laura Kingston

Center for Educational Opportunity Programs