Gaston College receives grant to expand educational opportunities for adults

Gaston College has received an Educational Opportunity Centers program grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The program provides counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education, and also advises participants on financial aid options, including basic financial planning skills. It is administered through the Federal TRiO Programs office.

The grant is for five award periods, with the first budget period running from September 1, 2022, through August 31, 2023. Gaston College has received $232,049 for this period. Subsequent budget periods span from September 1 through August 31, ending in 2027. Federal funds finance 100 percent of the total costs of the program; zero percent of non-federal dollars have been used to finance this program.

Over those five years, the Gaston College TRiO-Educational Opportunity Center aims to help expand educational opportunities for adults in Gaston and Lincoln counties. The funds from the grant will place professional support staff in the community to provide counseling and information on college admissions and financial aid to qualified adults with a desire to pursue education beyond high school. The Center’s overall goal is to increase the number of adults in the surrounding area enrolling in colleges and universities.

All services are provided free of charge to participants who meet the eligibility requirements. Among those requirements are U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in Gaston or Lincoln County, being at least 19 years old, and not having previously earned a college degree. Priority is given to individuals who are low-income or who have parents who do not have a college degree. Veterans, military family members, and unaccompanied, homeless, or foster-care youth are strongly encouraged to apply. Services include assistance completing applications for college admissions, testing and financial aid for 2- and 4-year colleges, guidance and referrals to GED and Adult High School programs, career counseling, college pre-admission counseling, specialized assistance for veterans, assistance with scholarship applications, and education and counseling designed to improve financial and economic literacy for participants.

“The caring and supportive TRiO-EOC staff at Gaston College are committed to turning your educational dreams into reality by helping remove barriers that often keep people from taking the next step in their educational journey,” said Dr. Jennifer Nichols, Vice President for Educational Partnerships. “Let us help you take that next step.”

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, email

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