The university received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal TRIO Programs to fund its Student Support Service Project for the first time in five years.
In a news release sent by Wendy Kilmer, director of communications and media relations, on Oct. 16, it was announced that the grant will span a five-year period from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2025.
“The university will receive $261,888 annually to fund the work of the grant, which is designed to provide additional support for low income and first-generation college students and those with disabilities,” Kilmer said.
D’Angelo Sands, director of TRIO Upward Bound, said that the support given to students includes tutoring assistance for their classes.
“The services it provides is, first off, tutoring assistance,” Sands said. “Tutoring assistance can include instructions on reading, writing, study skill development, mathematics and so on. Providing academic support allows students to get that support they need in a college environment.”
Along with tutoring assistance, the program also helps students understanding how to navigate finances regarding college attendance.
“In addition, the program will offer educational learning and financial literacy,” Sands said. “It also helps students with financial applications and scholarships, all those things that help a student to afford college, guiding them through the process, completing their FAFSA.”
Because of the program’s goal to help students of certain financial, cultural and ability demographics, Sands said that the project will also allow for assistance regarding college culture.
“[It] even allows the program to assist with cultural events,” Sands said. “When there is a cultural event taking place within the community or even outside of it, the program has permission from the Department of Education to assist that student within the cultural environment.”
The SSS Project allows for students who don’t have certain knowledge to navigate university services to receive and obtain that knowledge.
Sands, a first-generation student, said he knows the difficulties of navigating college alone.
“It’s really a great deal because, as a first-generation college student myself, I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in these programs because I didn’t have the knowledge to navigate them,” Sands said. “This program is a safeguard for those students coming in and a place for them to go.”
Susan Lewis, vice provost, said that she is grateful that the university has received the grant again since its last time to have it in 2015.
“ACU has had the SSS grant for many years prior, but we weren’t funded in the 2015 cycle,” Lewis said. “In the five years since then, we have developed other resources to serve the students who qualify for SSS services, and I’m pleased that we will have these additional focused resources going forward.”