The federal Student Support Services grant at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School has been renewed for another five-year cycle.
The grant, according to Director Rhonda Kinser, will continue “to play a critical role for the college in supporting the persistence, graduation, transfer and ultimate academic success of our most at-risk students.”
The SSS eligible population at SCCC/ATS reflects the struggling economic, social and educational conditions prevalent in this rural four-state border region, Kinser said. These socio-economic circumstances result in an extremely high number of first-generation, low-income, and academically under prepared students. Thus, the need for such a grant as Student Support Service; since its inception in 2005 this successful SSS project has provided assistance to over 800 students.
SCCC/ATS graduate Nancy Cardoza was one of the students who took advantage of the SSS program. She said she came to SCCC/ATS because it was closer to home and really affordable. The scholarship opportunities through the SSS program really assisted with her education. Other benefits of this program included tutoring, laptops that could be check out, peer mentors, academic advisers and the opportunity to take university tours, she said.
“I personally took advantage of their tutoring services, especially in English since that was one of my weak areas,” Cardoza said. “I also took advantage of their university tours, which was one of the main reasons why I decided to further my education.” She clearly remembers wanting to tour the University of Kansas, but she didn’t have the money to do that on her own. The SSS program gave her the opportunity to tour KU for free, so she jumped on the opportunity.
After graduating from SCCC/ATS, Cardoza continued her education at the University of Kansas. She is currently studying law at Florida Coastal School of Law.
Each year 160 students participate in the SSS project and receive academic, transfer, and career advising as well as one-on-one tutoring from professional academic specialists who hold at least a bachelor’s degree, Kinser said.
“It is an awesome program,” Cardoza said. They will help you answer many of your academic questions and if they do not know the answer they will find someone who does.” This program is one of the best programs to be a part of when it comes to furthering your education and being able to network.
“I highly recommend students to get an education beyond high school, Cardoza said. “Everyone is capable of furthering his or her education. You just have to set your mind to it. For students debating whether or not they want to keep up their education after high school, I would say just do it. It will be a great experience, plus it will MAKE you grow up. You become an adult, but not just any adult, you become an educated, mature one.”