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Student Support Services awarded U.S. Department of Education grant

Gadsden, Ala.— Gadsden State Community College’s Student Support Services Program has been notified by the United States Department of Education of an increase in funding. The program has been awarded $982,120 per year over a five-year period for a total award of over $4.9 million. That’s an increase of $785,445 from the 2015 award.

“We are excited that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded us this very substantial grant that has ensured the continuance of a very important program at Gadsden State Community College,” said Melissa Davis, program director.

The grant will fund Student Support Services for the next five years and will assist in providing opportunities for academic development, assisting students with basic college requirements and motivating students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education.

“The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates among at-risk students,” Davis said. “This grant is instrumental in helping us achieve that goal.”

SSS has been in existence at Gadsden State for almost 50 years and offers academic tutoring and advising, financial aid counseling and assistance, transfer advisement, career advisement, cultural events, coaching services, enrichment seminars, financial literacy seminars, study skills workshops, disability services, computer literacy and computer labs.

“We develop a plan for eligible students from the time they come to Gadsden State to the time they graduate or transfer to a four-year institution,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure they succeed.”

The services are provided by a highly-qualified and experienced full-time staff of 10 as well as 20 part-time tutors. Over 600 eligible students receive services from the staff and tutors. Services are available on the Wallace Drive, Ayers and Cherokee campuses. Students can apply for SSS by visiting Click on Admissions and Aid and then TRiO Programs.

“Our participants become eligible by being low-income individuals, first-generation students and/or individuals with documented disabilities,” Davis said.

SSS joins Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound as a TRIO program at Gadsden State. All federal TRIO programs are outreach and student services designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO programs are 100 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Education.