Student Support Services at WKU awarded five-year grants for two programs

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Western Kentucky University about $3 million over five years for a federal TRiO program that serves low-income, first-generation college students.

Student Support Services has received $348,006 a year for its existing program that serves 225 WKU students a year and $261,888 a year for a new program that will serve 100 students with disabilities a year.

Dr. Martha Sales, executive director of WKU TRiO Programs, said the funding will allow WKU to continue providing Pell Grant-eligible, first-generation students with the resources and support they need to succeed and to complete their college education.

“We are pleased that our new program to serve students with disabilities also was approved,” Sales said. “As part of the grant renewal process, we always write a proposal for an additional grant and had identified students with disabilities as an area of need at WKU.”

The new program will be housed at the Cynthia and George Nichols III Intercultural Student Engagement Center in the Downing Student Union and will work closely with WKU’s Student Accessibility Resource Center.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie announced the grant for the new program on Friday. “As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, I know how important it is to ensure that students – particularly first-generation, low-income, or disabled students – have the resources necessary to complete their education,” he said. “Student loan debt is crippling for many but it is often worse for students who never even finish their degree. This grant will allow WKU to give students the support they need to succeed and to finish their education at WKU.”

About the program: Student Support Services (SSS) is one of the three original TRiO programs and was first funded at WKU in 1980. Undergraduates with academic potential and motivation who also meet federal income and first-generation guidelines are eligible. Since the program’s first funding year, more than 1,000 program participants have earned degrees.

Student Support Services provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their post-secondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase college retention and the graduation rates of participants, as well as facilitate the transitional process from one level of higher education to the next.

The mission of Student Support Services is to serve eligible college students and foster an institutional climate supportive of their success. Our services are designed to enhance academic skills, increase retention, increase graduation rates, and facilitate entrance into graduate and professional programs. For more, visit https://www.wku.edu/sss/index.php

For more about WKU TRiO Programs, visit https://www.wku.edu/trio/