PORTLAND — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $2.6 million to the University of Southern Maine’s TRIO program to augment its work with students who have a low income, a disability or are the first in their families to attend college.

The just-announced funding — arriving in two, five-year grants — expands TRIO advising to target students pursuing fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The new funding,  $1.3 million, allows TRIO to advise 120 STEM students.

The first $1.3 million replicates previous grants, which had given TRIO funding to give personal advising to 140 USM students in a wide variety of study areas.

During one-one-one visits, advisors will help students explore and achieve their academic, career, financial and personal goals. The new grant will help TRIO establish closer ties with STEM students.

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