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The role of TRIO -Student Support Services for students who persist in college

Thomas J Gibson, Johnson & Wales University


This study examines the role of TRIO-Student Support Services (SSS) programs for students who persist in college. Federally funded TRIO-SSS programs are intended to improve persistence of disadvantaged and underrepresented students in higher education by providing support services such as supplemental instruction, tutoring, advising, counseling, and mentoring to eligible students. According to Martinez (1996), TRIO enjoys great success, but very little is known about why these programs are successful. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which current TRIO-SSS services are effective in increasing participation and retention of targeted students in host institutions (N = 4) in the state of Connecticut. This research posits that those who receive support services will have higher academic expectations and success rates than do those who do not receive TRIO-SSS services. The study collected information about services received by participating and nonparticipating sophomore and senior students using a questionnaire developed by the researcher, and compares the experiences of SSS participants to those of nonparticipants in order to assess the effectiveness of TRIO-SSS in increasing student engagement and academic expectations. Results of the study indicate that SSS participants' academic performance was almost identical to that of their regularly admitted, better-prepared nonparticipant counterparts. At the same time, the TRIO-SSS participants were significantly more involved in campus activities and made use of more support services than their nonparticipating peers. This study suggests that there is a link between academic success and student participation in TRIO-SSS. This is an important asset to student persistence.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration|Academic guidance counseling

Recommended Citation

Gibson, Thomas J, "The role of TRIO -Student Support Services for students who persist in college" (2003). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3124560.