Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded government program that gives qualifying student’s the opportunity to utilize a variety of tools, programs and services, which help them succeed in college.
SSS is part of what’s known as the TRIO program, which is a national college access and retention program. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities. The TRIO program was first established as an experimental program in 1964 as part of the Educational Opportunity Act, and by 1968 SSS was established as part of the “trio” of program.
Tech began the SSS program in October 2010 and is funded to serve and assist 140 students. SSS uses a federally approved selection matrix and interview process to select students. Eligibility for SSS is based on federally defined criteria where at least one of the following must be met: first generation college student (neither parent has a bachelor’s degree), limited income, which is determined by federal guidelines, or have a documented learning or physical disability.
Tech had 126 students apply in 2010 for the first year of the program. This year the program is at the 140 capacity and has a waiting list of select eligible students.
“It is competitive getting into the program now,” Lori Wineland, Director of Student Support Services, said. “We should have about a dozen students graduating this December and will have open spots. However, not everyone that applies for our program is admitted.”
Students who are admitted into the program are given a variety of services to choose from, including academic and financial assistance advice, tutoring, workshops, classes and help with reading, writing, math and study skills.
“Our goal is to help students succeed in school, stay in school and do well and graduate with their bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University,” Wineland said. “We even assist students in furthering their education and help them apply to graduate schools.”
“I wish there was a program like this at Tech when I was in school,” Wineland said. “When I began college, I felt lost and afraid to ask anyone questions. I didn’t want to bother the instructors or staff. Honestly, I wasn’t sure who to ask, or even what to ask.”
Wineland said participation in the SSS program gives students the opportunity to come in and gain insight into the campus and academic community, get help filling out FAFSA and searching for scholarships, learn about budgeting, study skills and relaxation techniques at workshops, have a computer lab and tutors to assist with homework and most importantly, the chance to meet a diverse group of students they can relate to.
“The support and encouragement SSS offers can lead to a positive collegiate experience and success in life,” Wineland said.
To fill out an application or to learn more about the services SSS offers visit www.atu.edu/sss/.