A private university in San Antonio, Texas has received a $1.3 million grant in order to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve better graduation outcomes. This grant, awarded by the Department of Education is a TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) grant, which is intended to help low-income students, students with disabilities, and other disadvantaged backgrounds.
Additional higher education grants for universities and colleges (IHE) serving the needs of low-income students and grants for IHEs to provide career education and college campus activities can be found on GrantWatch.
This grant will go towards providing services to 140 students each year, for the next five years. The goal is for an 81% retention rate of these students to return for the next school year and/or graduate, and for at least 86% of these students to remain in good academic standing. The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs which are designed to identify and to provide individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Here’s what this Student Support Services program will consist of:
- study skills development
- academic advising
- financial aid coaching
- cultural enrichment activities
- financial literacy coaching
- career and graduate preparation
The grant funds will also go towards three staff members for the program a TRiO SSS program director, assistant director and student success specialist all of whom will work diligently to help students to succeed.
St. Mary’s University President Thomas Mengler, J.D spoke on this grant being awarded: “Now, more than ever, this important funding will help improve our ability to provide access to an excellent education amid challenging times and ensure our students achieve academic success and graduate. The holistic programming that this grant funds will enrich the lives of the future leaders we are educating today.”
Forty-six percent of St. Mary’s student’s are first-generation, with 40% of students being Pell-eligible, which is indicative of sincere financial need. Graduation rates among both of those groups tend to be lower than the general population, which means assistance could make a real difference. St. Mary’s graduation rate is slightly lower than similar institutions (private universities) within 6 years, though private schools tend to have higher graduation rates overall.
(For reference, St. Mary’s graduation rate 56% compared to similar institutions 59.05% on average – Private (not-for-profit) Master’s College and University (larger programs)