Announcing the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Student Support Services

Announcing the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Student Support Services

SSS 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Student Support Services program which has guided millions of students and their families through the college preparation and application process. Student Support Services was established in the 1968 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which established President Lyndon B. Johnson's goal of seeing that "no American talent is wasted."

There is also an opportunity for you to share with your institutions and your own TRIO and Student Support Services alumni the life-altering contributions that Student Support Services has made in the lives of the students who you serve. We know that you will actively engage with your state and regional associations to generate excitement, energy, and recognition with a united voice. COE envisions that all Student Support Services and TRIO programs use this important year of celebration to cast a light on student accomplishments, on the strengthening of schools and communities, and on the families who are touched and transformed by the work of your programs. COE encourages all TRIO programs to commemorate this milestone by organizing events, reaching out to alumni, publishing stories and op-eds, and using social media to raise our national profile and be acknowledged as agents of change.

For ideas on how to promote your events, please click here Document is available for download (.pdf). For guidance or assistance with any of the media or publicity planning for the Student Support Services 50th Anniversary, please contact (

Also, please forward information on your upcoming events to Jodi Koehn-Pike (

Background on Student Support Services

What is Student Support Services and How Does it Work? — Student Support Services (SSS) works with students from families with incomes under $36,900 in which neither parent graduated from college. SSS helps students to better understand their educational opportunities and to persist in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees. Undergraduates receive tutoring, counseling, and remedial instruction. Some SSS programs target students with disabilities, students interested in STEM, those interested in teaching, students for whom English is a second language, and military veterans. Data provided by the U.S. Department of Education show that six years after beginning a postsecondary program, students who have participated in TRIO’s Student Support Services program are more than three times as likely to earn a baccalaureate degree within six years compared with their peers who only received a Pell Grant.

Whom Does Student Support Services Serve? — All students in the Student Support Services program are enrolled in postsecondary education, meet at least one of these eligibility criteria (low-income status, first-generation status, or disability status), and exhibit academic need. Currently, 1,069 SSS projects serve 202,913 students.

Where and When Did It Start? — Student Support Services is one of the federal TRIO programs. Congress first authorized SSS in the 1968 amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965. In 1970, the 121 initial Student Support Services projects enrolled 30,000 students.

Where are Student Support Services Located? — There are Student Support Services projects in all 50 states, including Guam and Puerto Rico. For a complete list of programs by state, please click here Document is available for download (.xls).

Do You Know These Noteworthy Student Support Services Alumni?

Hector Balderas, Attorney General, New Mexico, Student Support Services, New Mexico Highlands University

Franklin Chang-Diaz, First Hispanic Astronaut and Chairman & CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Student Support Services, University of Connecticut

Viola Davis, Actress, Student Support Services, Rhode Island College

José M. Hernandez, Former Astronaut, NASA, Student Support Services, University of the Pacific

Gwendolynne Moore, Congresswoman, Wisconsin, U.S. House of Representatives, Student Support Services, Marquette University

Harry Lee Williams, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Student Support Services, Appalachian State University

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