TRIO SSS Quick FAQs | Hagerstown Community College
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What is TRIO SSS?

TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS) is a federally funded program at HCC. Because TRIO SSS is federally funded, the program is subject to federal legislation and regulations in addition to HCC polices. It is a limited enrollment program, funded to serve 175 eligible participants each year. HCC first received funding for the program in 2010 and it was renewed in 2015 for a second five-year cycle.

What are the eligibility requirements?

All applicants must meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements prior to acceptance into the program:

  • First Generation – neither parent nor guardian received a four-year degree
  • Income Eligibility – federal low income levels can be found online with the U.S. Dept. of Education
  • Documented Disability – students must be registered with HCC’s Disability Support Services Office or provide documentation

Applicants must also possess an academic need (as determined by the program manager), meet citizenship or residency requirements, and be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at HCC.

What are you looking for in a student?

In addition to meeting eligibility and required criteria listed in the question above, preference will be given to applicants who:

  • Meet multiple eligibility criteria (first-generation, income eligibility, documented disability)
  • Have completed or tested above 98-level courses and have a GPA above 2.0
  • Are enrolled full-time (12 credits or more each semester) and plan to earn a degree from HCC

Although TRIO SSS is designed as an extra support system to students, participants in the program must possess a strong desire to not only attend college but to be a successful student and complete their programs. The ideal student possesses the drive to succeed but is still able to benefit from the services TRIO SSS provides.

What does TRIO SSS provide?

  • Individual and small group tutoring
  • Goal setting and academic advising
  • Cultural events
  • Computers and reference materials at the TRIO Study Center
  • Academic skills, financial literacy, and transfer/career planning workshops
  • Information and resources for financial aid
  • FAFSA assistance
  • Transfer visits to four-year colleges and universities
  • Induction and recognition ceremonies

Why should I apply to TRIO SSS?

In general, TRIO SSS provides a support system for our participants. TRIO students receive services that are above and beyond what the college offers to the general student population. Being a participant in TRIO means that you are part of a very unique academic community on campus. Here is what some of the current and past participants have said about their participation in TRIO:

“The TRIO program handed me a flashlight when I was in the dark. When others had experienced family members to guide them, I had the program. All the staff members treated me like family.” – Joseph K.

“As I have been in TRIO, I have had many opportunities and support that I never would have gotten. To new students, I suggest using the resources that they provide: the tutoring, the study room, the advising. All of that will help you succeed.” – Rachel W.

“TRIO is a great program. The staff is great and willing to help any way they can. When you have a problem, they find a solution.” – Robin H.

How do I apply?

You can stop by the office in Student Center 131 or fill out an application online.

Note: The newest version of Google Chrome is experiencing issues with the application form. We recommend the use of the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox to open and complete the application.

What happens after I apply?

TRIO program staff will process your application and verify your eligibility. You may then receive a phone call or email to be asked for further documentation or to schedule a prospective student meeting.

The TRIO program receives applications on a rolling basis throughout the year and typically makes acceptance decisions at the conclusion of each semester. Based upon a comprehensive review of eligibility, academic need, preferred qualifications, and the current openings in the program, TRIO staff will contact accepted students to join the program at the end of the term. This allows program staff to review your final grades before acceptance.

Since the program is only funded to serve 175 participants each academic year, admission is selective.

What is expected of me as a participant?

If you are accepted, the TRIO program will make a commitment to support you at HCC through graduation (with an associate’s degree). In turn, we expect that you will use TRIO services each semester until you graduate. The only requirement of the TRIO program is to meet with your TRIO advisor each fall and spring semester to complete an Educational Plan and Goals meeting (EPG) and keep your participation active.

Optional program services to take advantage of each semester include: individual and small group tutoring, academic and transfer advising, assistance with financial aid, workshops, and off-campus trips (college visits and cultural events).

Is TRIO SSS for 'academically deficient' students only?"

No. Participants in TRIO SSS vary greatly according to age, ethnicity, academic talent, major, and every characteristic in between. The one thing all should have in common, other than eligibility criteria, is a drive to complete college successfully and be well prepared for the future.

TRIO SSS has had several participants transfer to elite schools, including the University of Maryland College Park, Columbia University, Towson University, West Virginia University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Loyola University, among many others.

Do you give students books or money?

TRIO SSS is not a “free book” program or a “grant” program in the sense that students will receive a direct material or financial assistance from participation. TRIO SSS is able to offer a small number of books for daily use or study in the TRIO office only.