A $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College will serve 120 economically disadvantaged students each year and allow SKYCTC to launch a new Student Support Services program.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, joined SKYCTC administrators Tuesday in celebrating the five-year grant award. Guthrie attended the event as a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, which authorizes federal dollars for the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO programs, through which the SKYCTC program is funded.

“When you’re leaving a high school setting and going on to a multi-building campus, it can be intimidating for people,” Guthrie said. “What this does is it gives additional support to schools to have intensive counseling” for first-generation, low-income and students with disabilities, Guthrie said.

The Student Support Services grant will help SKYCTC offer a slate of new services to students in need, including academic advising, tutoring, tailored first-year experience courses, activities and additional financial aid.

Guthrie described the program as a good investment for taxpayers.

“Having an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, or technical training, really pays itself back. It pays itself back in people being able to earn a better income for themselves, for their family, but also being a better citizen and being able to pay their taxes,” Guthrie said.

SKYCTC applied for the Student Support Services grant to better support its low-income and first-generation college students. To qualify for the program, a student must be low-income, registered with the campus’ disability services or a first-generation college student, meaning neither of their parents hold bachelor’s degrees.

In a news release announcing the initiative, SKYCTC President Phil Neal noted that “it is tremendously difficult to secure any TRIO grant, as we are competing with existing programs. I am so proud of the team who worked on our submission and am pleased that we will be able to expand the support we can provide to our students.”

The college said it expects to hire a program director by mid-November and that it plans to reach out to eligible students with information and enrollment instructions.

– More information about SKYCTC’s new Student Support Services program is available at southcentral.kctcs.edu/SSSprogram.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

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