Central College was selected to receive funding under the U.S. Department of Education TRIO Student Support Services program. The college received $338,972 for the first budget period, which began Sept. 1. The grant is anticipated to be for five years totaling approximately $1.7 million.
Through a grant competition, funds are awarded to institutions of higher education to provide opportunities for academic development, social and cultural opportunities to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants. It is designed to persist and graduate students and foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of students.
“TRIO Student Support Services has successfully been funded at Central for 47 years,” says Nancy Kroese, director of student support services and coordinator of disability services. “We like to describe ourselves as a family away from home. The four members of the SSS staff provide emotional, academic, financial and social support for students who are first-generation, low-income or have a disability. We believe in developing the potential in each student through appropriate mentoring, resources and opportunities that will help each participant be successful in college and beyond.”
Eligible first-year students can join the SSS community through the first-year, two-credit college course Introduction to College Success. The course helps students make a successful transition into college. Students not in their first year at college can take an additional course that continues to enhance career opportunities, financial literacy and self-awareness. Many participants develop their leadership skills though becoming peer instructors for the first-year experience course, members of the SSS leadership team, tutors, group study leaders and student office workers. The program also provides accommodations to assist and help retain and graduate students with disabilities.
The SSS program is evaluated each year based on established objectives including retention and graduation rates. SSS promotes persistence through assisting students to develop a sense of belonging, self-efficacy and understanding the value of the curriculum. The program helps SSS participants prepare for the work force or attend professional or graduate school through finding job-shadowing experiences and providing graduate school visits.
The federally funded TRIO programs at Central include three pre-college programs: two Upward Bound programs and Talent Search, in addition to the SSS program.