Dirks TRIO Achievement

The Oregon TRIO Association (OTA) is currently accepting applications from outstanding TRIO students for the Dirks TRIO Achievement Award. Please carefully read the information noted here as the application eligibility process will be strictly followed. Each program with current OTA membership may nominate and submit two applications for this competition. Based on the selection criteria for the 2024 competition, 12 students (two from each district) will be selected by the committee to receive an award of $500 each.

Phillip Dirks was the first in his family to attend college in Iowa in 1977.  Coming from a low-income family, Phillip was able to receive substantial financial aid which allowed him to pursue his dream of completing higher education. He supplemented his income by working in cornfields every summer, which he had done since age 12. Phillip began working for TRIO programs in Student Support Services at Portland State University in 1989. In 1996, he became director of both pre-college TRIO projects at PSU. Phillip served on the University of Washington TRIO Training team from 1998-2012 and has been on the Sonoma State TRIO Training team since 2010. He has served as President of the Northwest Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (NAEOP) and the Oregon TRIO Association (OTA) twice. Phillip retired at the end of 2020 after many amazing years in TRIO to pursue his passions in travel photography and writing. This scholarship was named after Phillip Dirks in 2021 after over 30 years of service to first-generation and low-income students in Oregon.


1. Candidates must be current or former TRIO project participants for a minimum of one year.

2. Candidates in TS and UB must be incoming college freshmen for the Fall of 2024 and EOC participants must be new or reentry in the program of postsecondary education by Fall 2024.

3. Candidates should exhibit qualities of outstanding scholastic achievements and overcoming obstacles through participation in a TRIO program.

4. Candidates must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above from the most recent educational institution attended.


1. The student must complete the application at the bottom of this page.

2. A one-page application essay by the student addressing the following:

a. How participation in a TRIO project has impacted your educational goals.

b. Barriers to educational success or obstacles you have overcome.

3. A signed letter of recommendation/support from the nominating TRIO staff member addressing how participation in a TRIO program has impacted the student’s educational goals and success.

4. Student’s most current academic transcript (does not have to be official).


1. Only two students from each TRIO program (grant) will be accepted.

2. All application materials must be received by  February 23rd, 2024.


4. Students must be from current OTA programs with paid 2024 Oregon TRIO memberships.

If you have any questions please contact

DEADLINE is February 23rd, 2024

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For a list of TRIO programs and their legislative districts, please view this webpage:
A signed letter of recommendation/support from a nominating TRIO staff member addressing how participation in a TRIO program has impacted your educational goals and success.
Your most current academic transcript (does not have to be official).
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