Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair) is an initiative created in 1986 and is part of the federal TRIO programs that aim to help low-income individuals and minorities. The purpose of the McNair program was “to prepare participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities” (U.S. Department, 2002, p. 2). It provides mentoring and tutoring for participants, helps people find scholarships and internships, assists in applying, and gives academic counseling (U.S. Department, 2002). The program promotes access to equal opportunities for talented students with strong academic potential from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The foundations for the McNair program were laid by The Higher Education Act of 1965, which focused on providing financial and mentoring assistance in higher education. Legislation for the Student Support Services Grant Aid the act determined the parameters and framework for the allocation of financial assistance (U.S. Department, 2002). Official Final Regulations Amending TRIO Regulations describes eligibility criteria, selection criteria, and services provided by the project (U.S. Department, 2002). These base documents describe the goals and objectives of the McNair program, funding structure, duration, facilities provided, and admission criteria.
Although the legislation act establishing the program was passed in 1986, funding for the programs began in 1989. “Grant competitions were held in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995,” and since 1995, the program switched to a four-year funding cycle (U.S. Department, 2002, p. 3). During these years, the McNair program grew steadily; it started with 14 projects in 1989, and it reached 156 in 1999-2000 (U.S. Department, 2002). In the first year of the program’s existence, funding was $1,482,000, and by the year 2000, it had increased to $34,859,043 (U.S. Department, 2002). The program continues to expand, attracting new institutions and students to participate.
U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal TRIO Programs. (2002). A Profile of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program: 1998-99. With selected data from 1997-98 and 1996-97. Washington, D.C. Web.