On February 25, Rappahannock Community College’s Student Support Services (SSS) program scheduled a special observance of National TRIO Day, in order to acknowledge and honor the partnership between the TRIO programs provided by the United States Department of Education, and educational institutions like RCC, which implement those programs for the assistance and encouragement of first-generation or Pell-grant recipient college students. At both campuses, display tables offered informational brochures and other items. An SSS staff member was available at each location to answer questions and accept applications from students interested in participating in the program.
TRIO projects, including Student Support Services, serve nearly 850,000 students at more than 1,200 colleges, universities, and agencies throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific islands. These federally funded programs have been helping low-income, first-generation, and disabled students for the last 40-plus years to complete educational programs ranging from K-12 through graduate school. For many of these students, participation in TRIO programs is their first introduction to the idea of enrolling at a college, and is the most important factor enabling them to complete a degree.
“SSS provides tutoring and support to help students transfer from RCC to four-year institutions,” says Lorraine Justice, the administrative officer for TRIO programs at RCC. In addition, SSS holds workshops advising students how to deal with both educational and personal matters, sponsors trips to various colleges to help them choose the schools that are right for each of them—“cool!” one student remarked—and exposes them to cultural experiences that broaden their horizons as well as offering enjoyment.
“We had a total of 31 students who want to join SSS—16 at Glenns and 15 at Warsaw,” reports Justice. Some of these did not previously know about the program, and were eager to tell their friends.
“I need help” was an often-heard plea . . . whether referring to the admission or transfer processes, paying for classes, or many other aspects of college life. “SSS has money to help with my education?” exclaimed one student. “You can help?”