Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

James M. Davis

Department Affiliation



This study examined the role of TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) programs for students who persist in college. The intent of this study was to determine whether the services provided to participants in SSS helped them achieve higher grade-point averages (GPA), retention rates, and graduation rates. Student Support Services programs are designed to assist first-generation college going, low-income, and students with disabilities with gaining the academic and self-advocacy skills necessary to persist towards an educational goal, 2-year degree completion, transfer to a 4-year university, and/or completion of a certificate program. Services provided to student program participants included: academic tutoring, academic advising, financial and economic counseling, financial aid counseling, transfer counseling, cultural enrichment activities, workshops, mentoring, individualized personal and academic counseling, resources for underrepresented students, and disability services, to eligible students. This study was developed upon the assumption that Student Support Service programs affect the graduation rates, retention rates, and GPA of students. This study did show that Student Support Services participants do better than non-Student Support Services students do throughout their college experience.