Anoka-Ramsey Community College campuses awarded Department of Education grant renewals for TRIO Student Support Services programs

Anoka-Ramsey Community College campuses awarded Department of Education grant renewals for TRIO Student Support Services programs

October 30, 2020

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) programs at both the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids and Cambridge campuses have been successfully awarded federal grant funding from the Department of Education. The campuses were awarded $1.7 M and $1.3 M respectively to continue operations of the programs over the next five years.

Combined, the TRIO program supports more than 300 students each year at Anoka-Ramsey. TRIO serves first-generation, low-income and students with disabilities with the goal of providing support and resources to help them be successful in their college career.

“Participating in TRIO is a building block in the process of student retention and graduation,” shared Monica Lilienthal, director of TRIO Student Support Services at Anoka-Ramsey. “We provide a one-stop connection for students to obtain services and gain resources, student growth and development, and build self-advocacy through connection, community, access, and accountability.”

Student Impact

TRIO Cambridge Campus

Amy DeWitt is a first-generation college student. She joined the Cambridge Campus TRIO program in her first year after a representative visited one of her classes. When she started at Anoka-Ramsey, she was older than the average student, married and working full-time. Up until the point of joining TRIO she was truly “winging it”.

Unsure of her career path, Amy took advantage of the flexibility of the associate’s degree program and took a lot of classes to simply explore her options.

Between the course load, having complications in her pregnancy with her first child while enrolled and working, Amy found herself in multiple academic suspensions. “Without TRIO, I would not have graduated,” shared Amy, “Without their support, I would not have gone through the appeal process or continued my education.”

But Amy did finish. In August 2019, Amy completed her associate’s degree with a psychology emphasis. Through Anoka-Ramsey’s Bachelor’s Degree Partnership Program, Amy transferred to Concordia University-Saint Paul’s Psychology program.

Through her experience at Anoka-Ramsey and with the TRIO Program, Amy aspires to work in college advising and is currently working as an intern with the Cambridge Campus TRIO program to gain more experience in the field.

“Becoming part of the TRIO program opens you up to so many opportunities,” said Amy.

TRIO Coon Rapids Campus

Scott Cleven-Mulcahy didn’t take a traditional path to Anoka-Ramsey. After more than 30 years in the technology field, Scott continued to run into roadblocks to advancement beyond lower-level management without a degree.

After watching his two oldest sons follow a similar path and dropout of college, Scott was motivated to head back to finish his degree.

Scott left his job and started full-time at Anoka-Ramsey in fall 2019. During his initial visit to the college, Scott was introduced to the TRIO program.

 “Something I’ve carried over from my time in the private sector is to never let opportunities pass,” shared Scott. “I recognized this opportunity with TRIO as an important one.”

Even before officially enrolling, the TRIO program advisor Scott worked with helped him navigate planning his courses, financial aid options and taking placement exams. Beyond that, they were also able to connect him to critical counseling resources to help support his transition back to school as an adult learner with PTSD.

“I qualify for TRIO for multiple reasons. I qualified for being a first-generation student and that’s what I went in with because it was easy,” shared Scott, “but one of them is also a PTSD diagnosis.”

One of the things I shared with Ann, my advisor, was my diagnosis. She was able to connect me to counseling services,” said Scott, “TRIO has been a huge part of my support network in going back to school and dealing with the unique aspects of PTSD.”


Learn more about TRIO Support Services at Anoka-Ramsey at


Supplementary Information