14:35 PM

TRIO SSS Awarded $1.7 Million to Help Students Succeed in College

Cal State San Marcos’ TRIO Student Support Services program will receive a federal grant of more than $1.7 million over five years, the U.S. Department of Education announced this month. The funding for the first year is $348,002, a 3.5% increase over last year.

TRIO SSS is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support 206 CSUSM students who meet at least one of the following criteria: They come from a low-income background, they are a first-generation college student and/or they have a verified disability. The program offers academic, personal and professional support to increase the retention and graduation rates of participants.

“We are extremely excited to know that TRIO SSS has been re-funded and will continue to serve a resilient group of CSUSM students who inspire me each and every day with their dedication and perseverance as they earn an undergraduate degree,” said Heather Northway, director of TRIO SSS at CSUSM.

TRIO SSS has been continually funded at CSUSM since 1993. The university has three objectives upon which it is measured each year: retention of participants, good academic standing of all participants, and six-year graduation rate. CSUSM reached and surpassed its targets in each area, including for the past five years:

  • Retention of participants (fall to fall): 92.5%-95.5%
  • Good academic standing of all participants: 95%-97.5%
  • Six-year graduation rate: 76%-84.5%

The array of services the grant will provide are comprehensive and include academic tutoring, financial aid advice, career and college mentoring, help in choosing courses, and other forms of assistance. Such services enhance academic success and make it more likely that students will graduate or transfer with the lowest possible debt.

The national SSS program began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success; it bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had; and helps students with disabilities remove obstacles preventing them from thriving academically.