PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Another Aroostook County college has secured federal grant funding to provide ongoing services to help low-income and first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities, succeed in college.
Officials at Northern Maine Community College learned late last week that they had secured a U.S. Department of Education grant that will bring more than $1.27 million to NMCC over the next five years as part of the school’s TRIO-Student Support Services program.
Tammy Nelson, director of counseling at NMCC, said that 60 percent of NMCC students are “first-generation college students,” meaning that neither parent has earned a four-year college degree.
“First-generation students do not enjoy the benefit of having had a parent navigate the maze of higher education, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage and much more prone to failing out or [dropping] out of school before they reach their goal of graduation,” she said.
TRIO-SSS programs are geared toward serving that portion of the student population in order to help increase students’ retention and graduation rates, facilitate their transfer from two-year to four-year colleges and provide support services to help them succeed in their college environment.
Students eligible for the SSS program must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program of postsecondary education at an institution of higher education. In addition, low-income students who are first-generation college students and students with disabilities must have been determined to have academic needs.
NMCC counselor Shelli Cronkhite said the TRIO-SSS grant will “allow NMCC to provide greatly needed services” to students who qualify for the program, including academic, personal and career advising, along with tutoring and assistance with the financial aid process. They also have access to job search and job placement workshops and other services.
The Presque Isle college is not the only Aroostook County institution to benefit from such funding.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $297,400 in grant funding to the University of Maine at Fort Kent under the department’s SSS program. The college will receive $297,400 each year for the next five years.
The UMFK program offers services to enhance students’ academic success and personal and social skills, giving participants access to tutors, financial aid, career counseling and various workshops. A laptop loan program also is available to students in the program.