BOONE, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Education has funded the fourth year of Appalachian State University’s Federal TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program, giving Appalachian the opportunity to continue its support of first-generation and/or low-income students — from enrollment through degree completion.
The Federal TRIO SSS program at Appalachian has provided integrated, holistic services to first-generation and/or low-income students since 1972. The program’s primary mission is to retain and graduate Appalachian students, a goal supported by the university’s mission statement.
Cathia Silver ’83 ’86, director of student support services in Appalachian’s Student Learning Center, is the grant recipient. The current five-year grant cycle runs through 2020, with a total expected budget of approximately $1.4 million. The 2018–19 grant Silver received totals $313,229.
The SSS program identifies eligible students, selects those with greatest need and serves approximately 200 students per year (around 50 new students each year) from orientation through graduation, Silver said.
Based on assessments, the SSS advisors create an individualized plan for each student to meet their academic, career, personal and financial needs.
Participants receive structured services, including the following:
- Midterm academic progress reports.
- Extended orientation.
- Academic coaching.
- Intrusive advising through graduation.
- Mentoring program and academic workshops for first-year students.
- Priority tutoring.
- Transfer student support.
- Career exploration and development.
- Priority registration.
- Cultural events programming.
- Financial aid assistance.
In addition, all first-year students enroll in the SSS section of the First Year Seminar course, the First Year Writing course, as well as the SSS College Success Seminar elective course.
The program’s Annual Performance Report, submitted in March for the 2016–17 academic year, revealed a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent, a persistence rate of 89 percent and a good academic standing rate of 97 percent, Silver said.
Additionally, Silver said the program has long been a model of diversity on campus, with 42 percent of the current students from diverse backgrounds and 79 percent from first-generation/low-income backgrounds (based on recent federal poverty guidelines).
About the Student Learning Center
Established in 1972, the Student Learning Center at Appalachian State University, which is part of Appalachian's University College, provides six core services designed to make higher education accessible by providing students the insights they need to navigate their college environment successfully. These services include tutorial services and academic strategy instruction, which are offered to all undergraduate students, and four additional services — ACCESS, Student Support Services, As-U-R and Academic Services for Student Athletes — which serve specific groups of students identified as needing comprehensive support. Learn more at https://studentlearningcenter.appstate.edu.
About University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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