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October 28, 2010

Award Will Establish Student Support Services Program

Farmingdale State College has received a $1.1 million grant--its first ever from the TRIO program of the U.S. Department of Education--to establish a Student Support Services (SSS) program. The funding – which began September 1 – will enable the College to develop and provide supportive educational experiences to a cohort of students over the next five years.

The program will be known on campus as the "Farmingdale First Program."  The College considers students – and their education – to be its FIRST priority.  Furthermore, this Student Support Program will serve and engage students who are FIRST generation college students (as well as students who are low income and/ or have disabilities).  It is estimated that over 40 percent of full-time students who attend Farmingdale will qualify for participate in this robust Farmingdale First Program. The Farmingdale First Program will be located in the new Learning Integration Center (LINC) housed in Laffin Hall.

One hundred and eighty eligible students will participate in the program each semester.  They will be provided with support and services designed to assure their academic success and preparation for employment in a competitive job market.  The program will also help students proceed to graduate or professional school. Each year a new group of 45-50 first year students will be recruited and welcomed into the program in order to replace those who graduate or who are no longer participating for other reasons. The first group is expected to begin their participation in the Farmingdale First Program in January.

The grant was submitted by project director Dr. Beverly Kahn, professor of political science and special project coordinator for the Office of the President.

Farmingdale State College President W. Hubert Keen said "Farmingdale is honored to receive this prestigious grant which will allow us to provide services our students deserve and I thank Dr. Beverly Kahn for her hard work and commitment to the College."

While retention rates at Farmingdale are now among the highest in its peer group, research indicates that First Generation College students as well as those with low income or disabilities require special encouragement - as well as extra support services, information, and guidance - if they are to progress to graduation or continue on to professional study. The Farmingdale First Program will provide students with a robust summer orientation program, careful academic advisement; engaging student activities, financial counseling; opportunities for undergraduate research; specific information about scholarships for graduate school; career and graduate school advisement; and mentoring by faculty, alumni, and representatives from the Long Island community with regard to the opportunities and benefits provided by advanced degrees

"Far from being a silo devoted to advisement, remediation, and tutoring, the College's program will take a holistic approach to student support and success by providing academic support, social integration, creative pedagogy, financial support, and improved operating systems and services,"said Dr. Kahn.