Student Support Services Grant Targets Non-Traditional SFCC Students
South Florida Community College received a $1.1 million federal grant to provide support services to low-income, first generation in college, and disabled students. The Student Support Services grant (SSS) is intended to help non-traditional secondary students succeed in college and graduate on a timely basis. Research shows that students who have had this type of support have succeeded at a 50 percent higher rate than most other students.
The SSS grant is part of the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The TRIO programs are designed as a student services outreach programs that identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through their academic career. SFCC Vice President for Educational and Student Services Leana Revell believes that this program becomes known as a success builder for students.
The SSS grant’s application process is competitive with over 1500 applicants each refunding period. In previous years, SFCC has been a recipient of this grant and has been trying to obtain refunding for the past eight years. According to Lindsay Lynch, director of grants development, “only five new colleges were funded in the state of Florida and only two of those were community colleges.”
Letters have already been mailed to 600 students to fill the program’s 160 available spots. To qualify for this program, a student must meet one of the following criteria: first generation college student, have a Pell Grant or income that fits the requirements determined by the federal income guidelines, or has a documented disability on file with the disabled student specialist. The SSS program makes a student’s transition to college smoother by offering one-on-one advising and career counseling as well as workshops on managing your time efficiently, how to finance your education, planning your four-year degree and beyond, and many other topics. Lynch mentioned that students in the SSS program will realize that, “education is the pathway to success.” Students selected for this program should expect to begin receiving support by Nov.1.
The Tutoring and Learning Center on the Highlands Campus will become the headquarters for the SSS program with classroom and tutoring areas available. Students on all SFCC campuses are encouraged to apply, but availability of SSS program services will depend on the number of students involved in the program at each location.
SFCC is currently in the process of hiring the SSS support staff. Dr. Revell mentioned one of the best things about receiving this grant is it “provides SFCC with more staff that can directly assist students, and we are really excited about that.” By Oct, 1, staff will begin screening applications and selecting students with the highest level of need and who can make the commitment to the program through the duration of their time at SFCC.
Students are also encouraged to go online to the SSS program section on SFCC’s Web site to find out more information and to apply to the program. Laura White, associate dean of enrollment management and university relations, can be contacted at 863-784- 7154 with any questions about enrollment.