The mission of Student Support Services-TRiO is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of program participants at the University of New Mexico Main Campus. The SSS program draws upon a holistic framework where committed participants receive individualized support by addressing their educational and personal needs. Support is offered through academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, career advisement, personal guidance, financial guidance, graduate school guidance, workshops and social/cultural events. SSS Supplemental Grant Awards are available to eligible participants based upon available funds. The UNM SSS program is 100% federally funded through grant from the US Department of Education TRiO Programs.
SSS targets 160 UNM undergraduate students who are first generation to college, low-income and/or have a documented disability. The definition of low-income is specific to TRiO programs and “means an individual from a family whose taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of an amount equal to the poverty level determined by using criteria of poverty established by the Bureau of the Census.” The TRiO definition takes into consideration number of family members in the household and is based on ‘taxable’ income. Therefore, SSS may categorize a student as low-income based on taxable income and UNM Financial Aid may not consider them low-income because adjusted gross is used.
To demonstrate the impact of Student Support Service TRiO with UNM’s strategic plan several key performance indicators are used to illustrate.
Third semester retention rates measure the percentage of students who persist through their first two semesters, and enroll again for their third. Student Support Services-TRiO (SSS) tracks the academic performance of program participants including this key indicator of persistence to the third semester. SSS retention to the third semester was 96% (SSS Annual Performance Report 2010-2011).
Graduation rates measure the percentage of students who apply for admission to UNM as a degree seeking student and who then graduate with a bachelor’s degree. SSS annually tracks the six-year graduation rate of program participants. Additionally, UNM Enrollment Management uses this standard definition for a six-year graduation rate which is “measured by the percentage of full-time baccalaureate-seeking students who graduate within six years.” The 2005-2006 cohort has a six-year graduation rate of 67% (SSS APR 2010-2011).
Low-income student graduation rates measure the percentage of students from low-income households who were admitted to UNM as a degree seeking student and who then graduate with a bachelor’s degree. SSS uses the operating definition of low-income based on federal TRiO program criteria. Recipients of a Pell Grant are not automatically considered low-income in SSS. This key performance indicator is not required by the federal government however the information is collected and may be reported on. RESEARCH: Research may come in two forms: participation in student research at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and participation in professional research by program faculty and staff. In general, quantifying the research impact is highly individualized for each program. For instance, one program may report the number of undergraduate students participating in research workshops, another may report the number of students participating in long-term research projects, and a third may report the number of research project completed by staff or faculty paid through the program. Part of the intrinsic SSS program services is to encourage students to participate in undergraduate research through departmental honors thesis, independent study research projects, and participation in a third party research based program such as UNM’s Research Opportunity Program or UNM’s Ronald E. McNair Research Program. This key performance indicator is not required by the federal government; this specific information is not collected.
New student enrollment rates refer to the number of new students who enroll in higher education each semester or each year. In general, quantifying the impact of New Student Enrollment is highly individualized for each program. This key performance indicator is not required by the federal government however the information is collected and may be reported on. NEW MEXICO ACHIEVEMENT GAPS: Numerous populations within New Mexico experience college entrance and graduation rates that are lower than desired. Among UNM’s mission is the desire to create an educational system that promotes equitable achievement for all students. For instance, college graduation rates for low-income students, rural students and students of color are often lower than those for white students or students from middle-class families. Quantifying impact on the achievement gaps in New Mexico is highly individualized for each program. This key performance indicator is not required by the federal government however the information is collected on ethnicity and graduation rates for low-income participants and may be reported on.
SLDCR measures performance that is not easily quantified. It measures the impact on developing leaders, and on assisting students as they progress from college to the workforce in a way that allows them to achieve their life goals. Quantifying impact on SLDCR is highly individualized for each program. For instance, one program may report the number of students served who hold student leadership positions at UNM, and another may report the number of students served who find a job related to their degree within six months of graduation. SSS provides services to encourage students to participate in organizations and aspire to leadership roles. SSS provides various workshops which may include career readiness. Additionally, SSS provides encourages advancement to graduate programs leading to careers.
Many student services initiatives are focused on serving the community, or on preparing students to progress through the public school system and into higher education. SSS is limited to provide services to program participants. Not applicable for SSS.