Craven Community College (CCC) was awarded $1.1 million to continue its TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program for another five years. The SSS program is one of the federal TRIO programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. One-hundred percent of CCC’s program is financed by federal funds.
“We are very excited to continue offering the student support program at Craven because we know that it works,” said Kathleen Gallman, associate vice president of academic affairs and student engagement. Gallman said the program provides resources that empower and support students to help them achieve their educational goals.
The grant will provide $220,000 to fund staff, student tutor positions and programming that will serve up to 180 students annually. Student support services include proactive academic advising, financial aid planning and assisting, tutoring, career advising, and assisting in the transfer of students to four-year universities. Students who may qualify for the program include first-generation, low-income and/or students with disabilities. There is no cost to the student for the services provided.
According to Jennifer Bumgarner, CCC’s director of TRIO/Student Support Services, the retention rate of these students from fall semester to fall semester is 81 percent. This is more than double the college’s average retention rate among students enrolled in an associate’s degree program.
“Because of the higher retention, completion and graduation rates of TRIO students, we plan to make some of the support services available to non-TRIO students who are in our developmental education classes or who are academically at-risk,” said Bumgarner. These non-TRIO support services will be subsidized using funds from the college’s state budget.
“When I received news that TRIO was renewed, I was very happy because it lets me know that other students will have access to the same support and friendship I had as a TRIO student,” said Crystal Henderson. Henderson is currently pursuing her associate’s degree in business administration. Because of her positive experience with TRIO, she is inspired to go beyond her original goal of a two-year degree and plans to pursue a degree in human resources at a four-year university.
In addition to workshops and visits to universities, students are involved in the TRIO Student Leadership Club. According to TRIO Advisor Camille Cooper, “Students are able to enhance their leadership skills through community service and other projects.” One such project this year was a donation drive for Falcon Children’s Home. The club collected donated items such as food and personal items from students, college employees and the community.
According to Bumgarner, based on the successful implementation of the SSS program, CCC is currently applying for two additional TRIO grants, including the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and Talent Search. Each grant is expected to be more than $1 million, and both grants will promote post-secondary education in Craven and other counties.
For more information about TRIO SSS, contact Bumgarner at (252) 514-6715.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.