MIDDLETOWN – SUNY Orange has been awarded nearly $1.31 million TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) grant by the United States Department of Education to continue its work over the next five years in support of improved persistence, retention, graduation and transfer rates of low-income first generation students and students with disabilities.
The five-year grant in the amount of $1,309,440 will take effect Sept. 1 and will provide the College with $261,888 annually to fund its Student Success Project. With the grant, SUNY Orange will continue to serve at least 140 eligible students each year (at least 700 in total over the next five years).
Over the past five years, SUNY Orange’s TRiO program has maintained an average student retention rate of 91 percent, with 81 percent of students considered in good academic standing. During the 2019-20 academic year, half of the graduates from the TRIO program transferred to four-year colleges or universities.
While enrolled in TRiO, students experience a personalized student-centered approach to advising that involves personal contact, student responsibility for decision making, and problem solving that improves academic performance. Program benefits include career, academic, transfer, and financial literacy advising. In addition, students enjoy the educational and social benefits of cultural events and trips with their peers.
“Our SSS team at SUNY Orange is focused on one thing, getting students to graduation,” says Eric Hardwick, TRiO director. “Each student has access to one-on-one sessions with a success coach, who works with them regularly to build a customized academic success plan to meet set goals, and ensure their successful completion of courses and TRiO program requirements.”
Many SSS-eligible students may be unfamiliar with college expectations, lack the basic skills required for college-level work, have limited experience with setting goals, and face time and work obstacles to their education. These factors all contribute to lower college retention, graduation, grade point average, and transfer rates among these eligible students compared to their peers. Helping students adjust academically and socially is a critical element of college success and a focus of the TRiO initiative.
To be eligible for SSS programs, students must be enrolled in a degree program or accepted for enrollment into a degree program, must be a first-generation college student or meet certain income or disability guidelines as established by the federal government.
In addition to the grant funding, the College provides additional financial and personnel resources to support the programming (furnished space, technology support/internet access, staff and supplies).
For more information on the TRiO program, contact Hardwick at (845) 341-4175 or (845) 202-9813.