MC receives $1.3 million federal grant to promote student success

MC receives $1.3 million federal grant to promote student success 

Aug. 24, 2020 

 Maryville College has received a $1,309,440 Student Support Services (SSS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will provide academic and other support services to first-generation college students, students with high financial need and students with documented disabilities.

The five-year grant allows for the creation of a TRIO SSS program that includes advising; academic coaching; supplemental instruction and group study sessions; career-readiness workshops and coaching; financial and economic literacy workshops and coaching that includes FAFSA support and scholarship assistance; and cultural enrichment activities.

A centerpiece of the program is the Flight School Leadership program, which “scaffolds leadership and career development through training, peer mentoring, opportunities for paid on-campus employment as peer leaders, and completion and celebration of high-impact milestones (e.g., research, internship),” according to the grant proposal.

The program’s services are intended to increase persistence to the next academic year, academic success and graduation.

Beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, the program annually will support 140 students meeting SSS eligibility requirements. This is the first U.S. Department of Education SSS grant Maryville College has received. Annually, about 200 colleges and universities receive SSS grants for the first time.

“Founded in 1819, the College has a long and rich history of providing a strong liberal arts education to first-generation and low-income students from the Appalachian region,” the grant proposal states. “Maryville College continues to reduce barriers for disadvantaged students and provide educational opportunities to all students of academic promise. Maryville seeks to leverage its many resources, including a diversity of academic programs, academic support models, strength in STEM educational pathways, international study and internships, undergraduate research experiences, community engagement, and Maryville College Works career development curriculum, to enable all students to reach their full potential.”

“Students eligible for this program often face obstacles outside their control; in some cases, COVID-19 exacerbates those hardships,” said Jan Taylor, assistant academic dean at Maryville College. “This grant allows the College to support these students with the skill development needed to manage some of those challenges and reach their educational goals.”

Student Support Services began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. The SSS program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education, according to the U.S. Department of Education website. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and to help students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next.

For more information, please contact Taylor at

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”