BOONE, N.C. — For nearly 50 years, Appalachian State University’s Student Support Services (SSS) program — part of App State’s University College — has provided comprehensive services that support first-generation and/or low-income students throughout their academic careers. The program’s mission to retain and graduate App State students is supported during the 2020–21 academic year by grant funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
The grantee, SSS Director Cathia Silver, received $338,780 in ED funding for 2020–21 — the first year of the program’s current grant cycle (2020–21 to 2024–25). The total expected funding for the five-year grant cycle is approximately $1.7 million.
According to Silver, the program’s funds are used also to provide students with academic and holistic support, specialized instruction and proactive advising, as well as a fully structured first-year experience that includes a mentoring program, professional development workshops, academic progress and planning sessions, and educational/cultural programming. This funding also includes $40,000 in scholarship aid for participants who receive the federal Pell Grant, with the average scholarship per student being around $650.
After identifying eligible students, the SSS program determines and works with students with the greatest need — approximately 200 students per year — who are supported from orientation through graduation. Of the students who were served by the program in the 2019–20 academic year, 54% were from diverse backgrounds.
The program’s Annual Federal Performance Report for the 2018–19 academic year revealed the following achievements of SSS participants:
- 62.74% six-year graduation rate (SSS students enrolled in fall 2013 who graduated in spring/summer 2019).
- 90% retention rate (SSS students enrolled in fall 2017 returning for fall 2018).
- 97.14% good academic standing rate (as of the end of summer 2019).
Additionally, 97.5% of SSS students, including 94% of first-year students in the SSS program, finished the spring 2020 semester in good academic standing.
SSS is one of eight federally funded TRIO outreach and student services programs available at more than 3,000 program sites. The programs are designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
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 Southeast, 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 nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.