Student Support Services Program Awarded $1.4 Million Grant

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 6, 2005ᾰStudent Support Services (SSS), a federally-funded program designed to assist low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities graduate from post-secondary institutions, has been awarded a $1.4 million federal grant to continue the program at Southeast Missouri State University. 

Southeast officials say this cycle was the most competitive for continuation dollars, and 10 percent of the existing programs that competed were not funded beyond the current cycle.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the four-year grant to Southeast. Along with a remaining year left under a Student Support Services grant awarded in June 2001, the program will continue at Southeast through 2010.

The new four-year grant award will begin in August 2006 when the previous grant award expires.  The Student Support Services program began at Southeast in 1990 with its first four-year grant.  The federal grant was renewed in 1993, 1997 and 2001. When the new grant expires in 2010, the program will have been running for 20 years, making it the longest-running TRIO program on the campus.

Southeast officials say that under the new grant, the program will place more of an emphasis on non-traditional students requiring assistance, in light of the changing student population on college campuses across the nation. The Student Support Services program aims to facilitate students’ entrance into graduate and professional programs and to help them in making the most of their college careers.  The program provides opportunities for academic support and cultural enrichment, and assists students with basic college requirements and serves to motivate students towards successful completion of their postsecondary education.  The goal of Student Support Services is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next. 

The Student Support Services program is one of three active TRIO programs on the Southeast campus and in surrounding communities.  The TRIO programs are federally funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.  TRIO programs were established by Congress in 1965 as a series of approaches to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Southeast Missouri State University’s TRIO programs include the Student Support Services program, Project Upward Bound and the McNair Scholars program.  These programs, along with Minority Student Programs comprise the Educational Access Programs area in Student Development. The newly funded proposal included information on the success of the linkages among the programs and has been cited as a model for collaboration among federal and university sponsored programs.