Boston College has been awarded a five-year, $1.7-million federal Student Support Services grant to assist low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities, academically succeed and graduate from college, the U.S. Department of Education has announced.

BC’s Learning to Learn program, which hosts the grant, has offered a variety of student services, including advising in the areas of financial aid, academics, and student life, for over 40 years.  In addition to Student Support Services, or SSS, the Learning to Learn program administers the federally funded McNair Program, which prepares undergraduate students for graduate and doctoral degrees.

“Leaning to Learn offers critical, comprehensive services that enhance academic success and significantly increases the likelihood that more students will graduate,” said Learning to Learn Director Rossanna Contreras Godfrey.  “We are very grateful for SSS funding that supports our academic and financial aid advising, career and college mentoring, and Student Supplemental Grants to help students with unexpected college expenses and other forms of assistance.”

SSS 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. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success, bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities of their college peers, and helps students with disabilities remove obstacles preventing them from thriving academically.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which prevent promising students from succeeding in college,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Opportunity in Education, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities.  “Student Support Services is needed now more than ever.”

Many Student Support Services alumni have gone on to great success, including BC alumnus, author, and Workhuman Chief Human Resources Officer Steve Pemberton; Emmy, Tony and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis; U.S. Rep. Gwendolyn S. Moore of Wisconsin’s 4th District; and Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Hispanic astronaut.

Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | August 2020