SMCC and USM win federal grants totaling $2 million to support student success

SMCC and USM on track to receive over $2 million in federal funds to support student success through Trio SSS grant competition.

PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College will receive more than $2 million between them after being declared winners in the recent federal grant competition for TRIO Student Support Services.

Each institution will receive $220,000 a year for five years from the U.S. Department of Education to support an intensive student success program focused on ensuring that low-income, first-generation college-goers and disabled students graduate and succeed.

For USM, the grant award enables a continuation of a longstanding and successful program. At SMCC, the award marks the start of a new program and a new opportunity for students in Southern Maine to have a seamless path of support that can start at SMCC and continue when students transfer to USM. A key component of SMCC’s program is to assure that students successfully graduate with an associate degree and successfully transfer to a baccalaureate program.

The TRIO SSS grants mark another milestone in a growing list of partnership efforts between the two institutions, including new transfer agreements and new efforts to bring employees together to work on their shared mission of student success, said USM President Glenn Cummings.

“Our students are our most important focus at USM — and with SMCC, our two institutions together have formed a significant commitment to helping Maine students succeed,” Cummings said. “These grants will allow us to continue to give students the guidance they need to achieve academic success and career success after graduation.” SMCC President Ronald Cantor said the TRIO SSS partnership is a great example of how the two institutions are putting students at the center of a growing and valuable alliance between the two institutions.

“The new TRIO SSS grants create yet another bridge between our two institutions that will benefit our students,” Cantor said. “A student who starts in our program can transfer to USM and continue to be supported, and the same will happen for USM students who transfer here. Our two institutions are putting students at the center of our partnership to assure they have all the opportunities and supports they need to succeed.”

The TRIO SSS programs will support 140 students at each institution each year who are low-income, first-generation or disabled. The goal is to guide students to graduation through the use of individualized counseling and advising, peer mentoring, academic tutoring and other support services aimed at student success.