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TRIO Student Support Services

TRIO SSS FAQs for Faculty and Staff

WHAT IS TRIO or WHAT DOES TRIO STAND FOR?

“TRIO” is not an acronym. Rather, it refers to the three original programs that were funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Special Services (later named Student Support Services). They were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America:

  • Upward Bound was the first program, emerging out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, in response to President Johnson’s “War on Poverty.”
  • Educational Talent Search was created as part of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965.
  • Student Support Services was authorized at the first reauthorization of the HEA in 1968.

WHAT IS TRIO STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES?

TRIO Student Support Services is a comprehensive academic support program designed to increase the retention and graduation rates for eligible participants. TRIO SSS helps students develop the academic mindset and motivation necessary to be successful not only here at the University of Montevallo, but also in their future professional endeavors. Additionally:

  • TRIO SSS is 100% funded through competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • The program has its own administrative structure, stakeholders, mission statement, program theory, data collection process, and evaluation plan.
  • All TRIO SSS activities relate to specific and measurable performance objectives and the project is required to submit an annual performance report to demonstrate accountability
  • There is an extensive intake process to identify students committed to completing their baccalaureate degree at UM within six years (hopefully fewer!), with TRIO SSS as an active partner in the process.
  • To sustain the program, TRIO SSS is dependent on the support of the UM community.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE?

Because TRIO SSS is federally funded the eligibility criteria are stringent. Students must be:

  • Enrolled or accepted for enrollment and intent on completing their degree at UM;
  • S. citizen or permanent resident;
  • Have some level of academic need that could impact their ability to succeed; and
  • Meet at least one of the following:
  • Have a low family income as determined by federal guidelines;
  • Be a first generation college student (neither parent has a Bachelor’s degree); or
  • Have a documented disability and registered with Disability Support

TRIO SSS is funded to serve only 200 students each year. Two-thirds of students must be low-income and first generation college students or students with disabilities. One-third of disabled students must be low-income. Priority is given to students who are both low-income and first generation college students. There is an application and screening/selection process.

HOW DOES TRIO SSS WORK?

TRIO SSS specifically targets low-income, first generation college students and students with disabilities, because they are historically under-represented in higher education, and persist and graduate at a rate than much lower non-TRIO-eligible students. The program provides a wide variety of services, including but not limited to:

·    Individual preemptive tutoring

·    Financial aid and financial literacy information

·    Supplemental advising for academic/other concerns

·    Major and career exploration

·    Leadership opportunities

·    Supplemental advising for academic/other concerns

·    Use of General Education textbooks in the Study Center

·    Laptop computer lending program

·    Priority registration for freshmen and sophomores

·    Computer lab and free printing/copying

·    Exploration of/assistance with applying to, graduate school

·    Cultural events such as musicals, plays, etc.

WHAT SETS TRIO SSS APART FROM OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES ON CAMPUS?

Comprehensive services and individual attention set us apart. TRIO SSS involves itself in academic decisions, financial aid issues, tutoring, engagement activities, professional development and more. Additionally, because we serve only about 7% of the undergraduate student body, we can provide more attention to each participant.

HOW DO STUDENTS APPLY?

Students may apply online at www.montevallo.edu/sss. For more information students may contact the TRIO SSS staff at 205-665-6094 or visit the office in Lower Main Hall.

SHOULD I REFER A STUDENT TO TRIO SSS? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

The goal of TRIO SSS is to increase the retention and graduation rates of its participants. They are consistent with the university’s Strategic Plan Student Engagement and Success Goals: 1) Goal 3: Engage incoming undergraduate students; 2) Goal 12: Sustain engagement and increase undergraduate retention by expanding and strengthening learning support; and 3) Overarching Goal: To enhance the climate of UM to cultivate greater levels of student success as measured by retention and completion.

We are committed to providing proactive and intrusive academic and other assistance when working with our participants. Consequently, we strongly encourage referrals from faculty and staff. Applicants must sign a Release of Information form so that we may discuss their academic progress with appropriate departments, faculty, and staff.

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT THIS PROGRAM WORKS?

These are the highlights of our successes for 2016-17:

  ACADEMIC
  1. Ninety percent of the students served graduated or p to the Fall 2017 semester.
  2. There were 56 participants on the President’s List and 54 on the Dean’s List one or more times in 2016-2017 (including Summer Terms).
  3. Ninety-three percent of the students served in 2016-17 were in Academic Good Standing. Fifty-eight percent of the students had a 3.0 GPA or better at the end of the year.
  4. Tutoring:
  • Fall 2016: Of the 63 students receiving tutoring in at least one subject in the fall of 2016, 87% earned a “C” or better in their course(s) and 61% earned a “B” or “A.”
  • Spring 2017: Of the 55 students receiving tutoring in at least one subject, 78% earned a “C” or better in their course(s) and 63% earned a “B” or “A.”

(The students who earned “D,” “NC,” “F,” or withdrew from their course either requested tutoring too late into the semester or did not utilize their sessions consistently.)

  1. Thirty-six participants graduated in the fall, spring, or summer of 2016-17. Six students are pursuing graduate degrees, 3 of whom at the University of Montevallo.
  2. Sixteen TRIO SSS participants are also McNair Scholars.

HOW SHOULD I MAKE THE REFERRAL?

Please contact Dr. Denise Myers at rmyers1@montevallo.edu. For more information about the program, please visit our website at www.montevallo.edu/sss.