New program at ARCC promotes student success
TRIO Support Services debuts at Cambridge campus
By Mary Schmitt
TRIO Student Support Services is a new program at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Cambridge campus. TRIO SSS came to the campus at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, meaning it’s free for students.
This program hopes to encourage student success by providing students with opportunities and resources to graduate and continue their education. TRIO SSS, run by three advisers, offers a more personal and involvement-related college experience.
Up to 140 students can be admitted to the TRIO SSS family, meaning each advisor has 20-60 students. Because of the small student-to-adviser ratio, the undergraduates are able to establish a personal relationship with their adviser and receive knowledgeable advice tailored to their particular goals and experiences.
Through this personal advising, students are also able to get more appropriate advice regarding course planning, career guidance, transfer planning and financial aid and scholarship assistance. They also encourage student involvement by offering workshops, four-year college visits as well as social and cultural activities.
The results of TRIO SSS show that students involved in the program are twice as likely to return to college each year and are nearly twice as likely to graduate with an associate’s degree within six semesters.
Monica Lilienthal, director of the program, states that TRIO SSS is a “great program for students to take advantage of, for students to be able to better the success of their experience here.”
TRIO SSS is limited to students who fall under at least one of three categories: either they must come from a low-income family, be a first generation college student (neither parents have a bachelor’s degree), or have a disability.
Initially, this tends to turn students away from the program, whether because they don’t think they would qualify or because they don’t want to be labeled under one of those categories. However, over 60 percent of ARCC students do, in fact, qualify for TRIO SSS.
With that in mind, students are encouraged to apply. Many people assume the program is already full, but considering that it only arrived this past fall, there are still many openings.
Ultimately, ARCC is fortunate to have this program funded. Students seeking success can find great opportunities by getting involved in it.
As Lilienthal said, it helps students feel connected in their efforts by “being a part of something,” which is a valuable part of the college experience.