The goal of Student Support Services (SSS) is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and help students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next. The SSS grant provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. There are more than 1000 SSS programs across the United States and Puerto Rico.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education (TRiO) has established three objectives for Student Support Services programs nationwide. The percentages are decided by each grantee and are (1) based on institution benchmarks and (2) what each institution deems as ambitious and attainable goals. These objectives are measured annually and are reported on the Annual Performance Report (APR) to the U.S. Department of Education. Programs earn prior experience (PE) points during years two, three, and four of the grant cycle. Years one and five bookend the cycle.
UCF received the first of its two SSS grants in 2010. Through funding from this grant, the PRIME STEM Project was conceptualized and implemented at UCF. PRIME STEM supports students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), as well as Health Sciences majors. The institution was notified in fall 2015 that it had been re-funded for PRIME STEM and funded for a second SSS grant, Project BEST that serves students across all majors at UCF.
Combined, the two programs provide services to 268 qualified students (124 PRIME STEM, 144 Project BEST) who meet program eligibility requirements. All scholars have an opportunity to receive advice and assistance with course selection (supplemental advising), academic tutoring, information about and assistance with applying for federal financial aid, assistance with applying for graduate/professional school, education and training for economic/financial literacy, mentoring, and cultural events.
For more information about the SDES TRiO Center and the application process, see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.