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Westminster receives federal TRIO Student Support Services grant

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Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Westminster College will receive $1.3 million in grant funding over the next five years to develop and maintain a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program to benefit underrepresented students in their higher education academic pursuits.

The competitive federally-funded five-year grant from U.S. Department of Education’s Student Support Services (SSS) Program will provide services and resources to first-generation, income eligible students and students with disabilities to ensure they successfully navigate their college education at Westminster College. The College will receive $261,888 this year to establish the program.

 “A significant number of Westminster students are the first in their family to attend college, and navigating higher education can be daunting for them. Many others face financial challenges as they pursue their educational goals, and we want to partner with them to make their aspirations a reality,” said Westminster College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Dr. Jamie G. McMinn. “The TRIO Student Support Services grant will provide academic, financial literacy, cultural and wellness programming to first-generation and low-income students so that they achieve the outcomes that mark a successful Westminster graduate.”

Thirty-eight percent of enrolled Westminster College students are identified as low income, 17 percent are first-generation college students and 7 percent have a declared disability. Westminster’s SSS Program is funded to work with nearly 140 students annually and will support three full-time staff members—a director and two advisers.

Services and resources provided will include academic tutoring; academic success and wellness coaching to promote classroom achievement and personal wellbeing; support for learning and other disabilities; and career and college mentoring (course selection, professional and career development and financial aid comprehension).

“We are deeply appreciative of the U.S. Department of Education, Congressman Mike Kelly, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bob Casey for their support of Westminster Titans,” said McMinn.

TRIO SSS began in 1965 under the Title IV of the Higher Education Act and is one of eight federal TRIO programs designed to identify, assist and provide services to those from a variety of disadvantaged backgrounds.