PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The Community College of Rhode Island has been awarded more than $500,000 in federal funding for its outreach and student services programs.

The funding, totaling $554,000, will support the TRIO Student Support Services program. The program serves approximately 440 students at CCRI. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

First-generation college students, those who meet low-income qualifications and students with disabilities are eligible to participate in the TRIO program.

The federal program is designed to increase graduation rates and help students transfer from two-year to four-year colleges.

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed says the program can be a lifeline for first-generation college students.

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation helped secure the federal funding.