Georgia Southern University has been awarded a $1.3 million, five-year Student Support Services (SSS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help 140 disadvantaged students on the Armstrong and Liberty campuses succeed in their collegiate careers. This is the University’s second consecutive SSS grant.

“We are elated that we have another five years to pour into the lives of these students who are often considered underrepresented,” said Corine Ackerson-Jones, director of TRIO Student Support Services. “I am truly blessed to have an awesome staff, a great support system within my division and strong collaborative commitments throughout the University. Of the students we have already served, 25% have graduated and 44% are still enrolled at Georgia Southern. It took the entire village to accomplish this.”

SSS helps college students who are low-income, first-generation or have disabilities. The grant provides an array of services including academic tutoring, financial literacy and financial aid workshops, career and college mentoring, academic advising, and course selection, in addition to other forms of academic and personal assistance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which keep promising students from succeeding in college,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C. “Student Support Services is needed now more than ever.”

SSS began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal TRIO programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. SSS alumni include actress Viola Davis, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and the first Hispanic astronaut, Franklin Chang-Díaz.