Aspire, one of the federally funded TRIO programs, has a rich history as a Keene State College department and as part of a national movement. The generic federal name for the Aspire program is Student Support Services (SSS) and its funding is competitive, requiring a successful proposal every five years.
SSS was initially authorized as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students in the Higher Education Act of 1968. Upward Bound and Talent Search had been authorized three years earlier and together, the three programs became known as the TRio Programs. To this day they share a common mission: access, retention and graduation from postsecondary education for disadvantaged students. TRio programs originated during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, and were a part of his “War on Poverty” along with federal financial aid, Head Start, and several other programs designed to address poverty using education as a vehicle.
The original Keene Sate College Student Support Services (Aspire) proposal was submitted in 1979. Aspire became KSC’s second TRio program when it was funded effective September 1, 1980. Aspire was recently awarded a five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education which will end in 2015. The grant requirement is to serve 160 TRio eligible students annually.
Aspire is housed in the Elliot Center, the student services building. It is located on the first floor in an attractive suite of offices with a reception area. The Office of Disability Services is adjacently located, and in close proximity are Academic and Career Advising, Student Financial Services and Admissions.
Keene State hosts a federal TRIO Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education. These services are for those who have been historically underrepresented in college and so are eligible to receive some extra support.
Students who meet federal income guidelines, are a first-generation college student (meaning neither parent has a 4 year college degree), or have a documented disability may be eligible for additional educational counseling services.
Through the TRIO/SSS grant, students can receive:
- Additional individualized and small group peer tutoring
- Educational Counseling
- Advising and course selection information
- Workshops on a variety of relevant topics
- Financial aid and financial literacy information
- Scholarship search assistance
- Graduate school advising and GRE preparation