Hartnell – TRiO Student Support Services

The TRIO program, originally enacted under President Johnson in the 1960’s, was originally made up of three programs; Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services (SSS).
Hartnell College has recently added the Upward Bound Program at Alisal, Everett Alvarez and North Salinas High Schools. While now there are six programs under the TRIO umbrella; the Student Support Services arm at Hartnell College is going strong.
The program recruits graduated low income and/or first generation high school seniors as college freshmen and helps them with counselling and academic resources for the next 2-3 years until they graduate and transfer.
“We’re the transfer pipeline for the students at the community college level, but we feed them into the university pipeline as prepared college juniors,” says Manuel Bersamin, director of Hartnell’s SSS program.

Instead of catering to the individual needs of students, SSS has a cohort bond and work together as one cohesive group.
Each student works hard for the good of the cohort and they succeed together. “The cohort is really an organized learning community…we organize them to take the same classes together, study collaboratively and go to tutors together.”

The site of Digital NEST is 4,500 square feet of working space in Watsonville and 1,500 square feet of space in Salinas, for students interested in technological careers, such as videography, photography, programming, recording, website design, graphic design, etc.
-Students who use Digital NEST are hired to staff BizzNEST, a youth tech consultation service.
-The program works with several local businesses such as; Designing a website of UC Santa Cruz.
-Digital NEST uses three career focus areas to determine where students would fit best if it were Web and IT, Digital Arts and Technology and finally People, Projects and Leaderships (PPL). PPL focuses on communication and project management.

Measure Success

SSS measures their success using the Hartnell College Service Area Outcomes Assessment Plan and Summary Form (found below in Data).


80% of all participants served by the TRiO Project will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year. During 2014-2015, 93% of all participants served by TRiO persisted from fall 2014 to fall 2015.
Hartnell’s criteria for success includes:
85% of cohort will persist the next year, graduate, or go onto a 4-year university.
80% of the cohort must maintain above a 2.0 GPA.
50% of participants must graduate with an Associate’s degree/certificate in 4 years.
25% of participants will transfer with an Associate’s degree/certificate in 4 years.
Hartnell College SSS has surpassed these objectives each year since 2010 and now graduates sixty students each year.

What’s Next?
The program is looking to close the gaps in resources available to them.
For example, they are looking to require the students to apply for as many scholarships as possible to reduce dependence on loans at the university level. “ To improve the odds for first generation and/or first generation student success in their first years within college, it’s all about close follow-through and careful monitoring of each individual student,” Bersamin emphasizes.


Graduated low income and/or first generation High School seniors


High school & Hartnell counselors
Other TRIO programs at Hartnell College and CSUMB
Hartnell College EOSP, MESA, & Special Programs
Parents of the students in their cohorts

Sponsoring Organizations

Hartnell College