The value of a college degree is undisputed. A 2010 report from the College Board estimates that, among full-time workers, high school graduates earned a median annual income of $33,800; workers with an associate’s degree, $42,000; and, workers with a bachelor’s degree, $55,700.

Chapter 6 | Supporting Student Success in College

The information included on this webpage was excerpted from Chapter 3 of College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Toolkit for Educators and Service Providers, available in its entirety at

keys to success

Chapter 6, Part 4 | Keys to Success: Campus Adaptation and Student Engagement
yellow horizontal line

The federally-funded Student Support Services (SSS) Program, one of the Federal TRIO Programs, provides services aimed at increasing college graduation rates among low-income and first-generation students. According to a study of best practices among SSS Programs, entitled Best Practices in Student Support Services: A Study of Five Exemplary Sites, programs with strong records of student success shared the following five characteristics:

  1. A structured first-year experience
    High-performing SSS Programs provided key supports during a student’s critical freshman year. They provide students with guidance regarding course selection, intensive academic advising and counseling, and referrals to additional services, as needed. The totality of this assistance creates a welcoming introduction to college life that sets a student up for long-term success.
  2. An emphasis on academic support
    High-performing SSS Programs focus on giving students the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their course work. These programs provide study skills workshops, arrange peer tutoring and study groups, and offer supplemental instruction in introductory courses.
  3. An active and intrusive approach to advising
    High-performing SSS Programs provide intensive academic advising services by meeting with students several times per semester, tracking student performance regularly, and providing academic intervention, as needed, based on a midterm progress report.
  4. A plan to promote participation
    High-performing SSS Programs require students to commit to using available supports and services. Students may be asked to sign a contract in which they agree to meet certain requirements to participate in the program. These programs also reward students for their participation and provide flexible schedules of services to increase student engagement.
  5. A strong presence on campus
    The directors of high-performing SSS Programs are well-respected on their college campuses and are in positions that allow them to influence the development and implementation of policies related to at-risk student groups.

Colleges that are considering developing a support program for students experiencing homelessness, many of whom are low-income and/or first-generation students, may wish to keep the above characteristics of successful programs in mind.

transparent spacer

web series navigationUp Next: Part 5 | Establishing Networks of Support for Homeless Students on College Campuses

Web Series Navigation | Chapter 6
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Web Series Homepage | Table of Contents

NAEHCY 2018 Conference
Anaheim, CA
October 27-30, 2018
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
Homeless Students in ESEA Reauthorization
Sign Up to Receive Email Updates
Receive updates from NAEHCY about homeless education issues