The U.S. Department of Education announced that Central Maine Community College (CMCC) will receive two federal Student Support Services (SSS) grants totaling $597,000 per year to help more students succeed in and graduate from college. The grants will amount to almost three million dollars for the five-year grant period and will serve 295 students every year.
While the TRIO program at CMCC has held a Student Support Services grant since 1998 and has since helped 3850 students to graduate, this is the first time the college has received a second SSS grant. The new grant focuses on helping STEM majors (students majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics related degree) to graduate or transfer to a baccalaureate program.
SSS helps college students who are low income, first generation (those whose parents do not have a four-year college degree) or students with disabilities. The grant funds comprehensive services such as academic advising/tutoring, financial aid advice, and career and college mentoring. Such services enhance academic success and make it more likely that students will graduate or transfer with the lowest possible debt.
Started in 1968, SSS recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success; it bolsters students from low income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had, and helps students with disabilities remove obstacles preventing them from thriving academically.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which keep promising students from succeeding in college,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C. “These funds will help make certain that deserving students at CMCC will experience increased success,” noted Terry Charlton, director of the TRIO Success Center at CMCC. “Finally something good has happened in 2020!’”