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TRIO: SSS Grant Renewed through 2020

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College received word from the U.S. Department of Education this month that grant funding for its TRIO: Student Support Services (SSS) program has been renewed.

According to Dr. LaTonya Nixon, director of PCC TRIO programs, the college received notice of the grant’s renewal July 17, meaning SSS will be part of the Pitt campus for at least the next five years.

“We are very excited about our successful grant renewal,” Nixon said. “TRIO staff and the college community have worked in collaboration to make this program successful and substantially impact the lives of our students.”

SSS, Nixon says, is part of the federal government’s TRIO initiative and provides traditionally under-represented students with the support and guidance they need in order to complete their educational goals. The program at PCC began with a grant in 2005, she said, adding that funding was first renewed by the federal government in 2010.

SSS participants at Pitt benefit from a variety of educational services, including tutoring, workshops, leadership development, counseling, academic planning, and college transfer assistance. Through the program, students have also toured four-year universities and taken part in academic workshops to prepare for college placement testing.

“The students in our program use the services we provide as a springboard to success in higher education, the workplace and their communities,” Nixon said. “We look forward to being part of student services at Pitt Community College for the next five years.”

To be considered for SSS participation at PCC, students must be enrolled at the college, have a demonstrated academic need, and be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. Participants must also meet specified income eligibility criteria and be first-generation college students and/or students with a documented disability. SSS services are free to participants.

Launched by the federal government in 1964, TRIO has grown to encompass eight programs that target and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and people with disabilities. The programs provide services that help participants progress through the academic pipeline, from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

PCC expanded its TRIO services in 2011 with a five-year grant that enabled the college to establish Educational Opportunity Centers in an effort to reach out to individuals who want to pursue an education but don’t know where to start.
As Nixon explained, “EOC will help you get into college; SSS will help you graduate from college.”