The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Student Support Services program has received a five-year, $2,952,820 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue helping low-income and first-generation undergraduate students earn college degrees.
Student Support Services is one of four TRIO programs at Nebraska. It serves about 350 undergraduates annually, providing academic support and leadership opportunities with the goal of seeing each student through to graduation.
“The U.S. Department of Education awarding the university this five-year grant is a validation of the hard work our TRIO staff members have put in over the years,” said T.J. McDowell, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. “They’ve worked tirelessly to strengthen the impact Student Support Services has on the success, retention, and graduation outcomes of first-generation and low-income students.”
In 2019, 97% of Student Support Services’ fall cohort continued on at the university through the spring 2020 semester. McDowell points to this high retention rate as evidence that the program’s resources have directly impacted student success.
The new funding will go toward staff salaries and benefits, student workers, instruction of core classes, financial aid for eligible students, tutoring, educational workshops and research opportunities.
“This grant will help us invest more resources into career services, undergraduate research and financial literacy,” McDowell said. “The end goal is to not only help these students reach the finish line of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but also set them up for success once they’ve started their career.”
Combined, Nebraska’s four TRIO programs serve more than 1,400 middle school, high school and college students throughout the state. The other three programs include Upward Bound, a college prep resource; Upward Bound Math-Science, for those interested in STEM subjects; and Talent Search, which identifies and recruits students to attend the university.