Alamance Community College has been awarded its first-ever federal TRIO grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement the Student Support Services (SSS) Program. The total award over a five-year period is approximately $1.3 million.
One of eight TRIO programs, the goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants by providing opportunities for academic development, assisting students with basic college requirements, and motivating students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education.
Eligible individuals for SSS are low-income students, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities. ACC has nearly 2,000 curriculum students who meet this eligibility criteria, reported Dr. Carol Disque, Vice President of Student Success.
The grant period begins September 1, 2020 and will continue for five years at approximately $261,888 each year.
“We are especially grateful for the timing and multi-year focus of the TRIO grant since the COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted systemic inequities, and worsened college access for first-generation, low-income, and disabled individuals,” said Dr. Disque.
The College reported on its grant application that 11.8% of students with poor academic standing and 37% of first-generation college students do not regularly utilize ACC’s academic advisement services. These eligible students have a lower retention rate, and significantly lower graduation rate than students who do not fit the criteria.
ACC’s Student Support Services Program will assist eligible students by providing academic support and tutoring in developmental and gateway courses, top priority course registration each semester, intensive academic advising, success coaching, career planning services, coaching for transfer to four-year colleges, financial literacy and financial aid counseling, cultural enrichment opportunities, and student leadership opportunities.
Guided by full-time Student Support Services (SSS) success coaches, each student participant will develop and carry out a Personal Success Plan, a roadmap that leads to timely graduation.
The services provided are grounded on the North Carolina Community College System’s “Guided Pathways to Success” framework.
The participant selection process is expected to launch in mid-fall 2020 and will continue until the maximum of 140 participants is reached. Both first- and second-year students can be served. Applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be referred to other support programs at the college.