The Student Support Services program for the Troy, Dothan and Montgomery campuses has been chosen as the recipient of a $4 million grant.
Hal Fulmer, associate provost and dean of undergraduate and first-year studies, described the SSS as “one of several national programs funded by the federal Department of Education that is focused on assisting groups of students in their educational pursuits.”
To be eligible for the SSS, an individual must be either a first-generation college student, a low-income student, or a student with verifiable special needs.
“The program is designed to assist students who are at risk, through no fault of their own, of not achieving their educational pursuits due to their personal backgrounds,” Fulmer said.
This is the largest endowment provided to an SSS program at any four-year academic institution in the nation.
The grant, awarded through the U.S. Department of Education, will be disbursed to Troy over the next five years.
SSS is one of the two projects funded through the federal TRIO programs.
According to its website, “the Federal TRIO Programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Mary Griffin, director of Troy University’s TRIO unit, said that the main objective of the SSS program is “to increase student retention, good academic standing and the graduation rate of participants.”
The project, which first began in 1984, offers several services aimed to provide opportunities for students to receive direct help on a one-on-one basis.
The services provided include private tutoring, academic and personal counseling, and assistance in financial literacy.
SSS at Troy currently serves around 555 students.
Quinton Lindsey, a senior mathematics education major from Baker, Florida, who has been a part of SSS, expressed his gratitude toward the program.
“The Student Support Services program mirrors what Troy University is — which Chancellor Hawkins describes as a ‘culture of caring,’” Lindsey said. “This is evident in the staff involved in this program.
“Without this program I wouldn’t have the feedback that I need. I think that all students involved in the program benefit from the guidance the staff provides as well as being able to learn from each other.”
Aneisha Barnett, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Huntsville, also expressed a great deal of appreciation for the program that she has been a part of.
“The staff involved here at the Student Support Services program is home to some of the kindest people I have ever met,” Barnett said. “They are good people to have as friends, mentors, and they’re easy to talk to. They keep you on track.”
The grant will be used to continue to provide its current resources as well as aid in developing a major change in the SSS program set forth by the Department of Education, which aims to create a coaching initiative.
The SSS plans to provide a readily available staff specifically hired on to act as coaches, mentors and counselors for students involved in the program.
“This coaching initiative is very important because a lot of the issues students face aren’t just dealing with the content of the class, but the context that they’re in,” Griffin said.
“We are truly grateful for Chancellor Hawkins as well as the administrative staff here at Troy University for their hard work and constant support of the Student Support Services program.”