St. Catherine University announced today that it has been awarded a $1.3 Million competitive grant over five years from the United States Department of Education to establish a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program. The program provides support to students with high academic abilities, but who may experience challenges due to disabilities and neurodiverse traits, students who are the first generation of their families to attend college, and students with financial need. This program will connect them with the high-impact curricular and co-curricular services they need to successfully complete their degrees at St. Kate’s.
“The TRIO SSS program offers a holistic set of supports tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances that eligible students face,” said Lizette Bartholdi, assistant dean and director of Academic Advising at St. Catherine University and key contributor to the design of this initiative. “Their lives are complex, and they juggle competing family, work, and school expectations. Many engage in precarious balancing acts to pursue their college degree, and with this program we can help minimize the obstacles these students are already navigating.”
The 140 undergraduate students selected through an application process to participate in the program will be connected with the tools they need to overcome these challenges. Anchored in a responsive advising model, St. Kate’s SSS project engages students as partners in mapping their academic journey and accessing the high-impact curricular and co-curricular services that students benefit from as they pursue their degrees.
For more than 50 years, this competitive grant awards funds to institutions of higher education to create TRIO SSS projects. The project at St. Catherine University will be housed in Academic Advising. This grant has two phases, which are:
- Engaging SSS participants in early and frequent planning that connects academic preparation with career planning and job readiness, including priority consideration for placement in paid internships.
- Accessing a range of financial literacy services, including those delivered by Peer Money Mentors (students specially trained in money matters), as well as engaging economics education provided by the Minnesota Center for Diversity in Economics, which is housed at the University and promotes and supports gender and racial diversity in economics at every stage of the educational and career pipeline.
“The excellence and vibrancy of St. Kate's is due to the wide variety of backgrounds and lived experiences that our students bring with them to their studies,” said Seth Snyder, PhD, dean of students at St. Catherine University. “Designing and delivering a Student Support Success program like this is a wonderful example of our commitment to both equitable access and equitable college completion. Katies are already among the most diverse groups of college students in Minnesota, in terms of race, ethnicity, and family resources. Our graduates use their degrees to improve their lives and their communities, and this grant will help us reach and support even more of our students as they pursue their dreams.
The first women’s college in the state of Minnesota and the largest private women’s college in the nation, St. Catherine University opened its doors in 1905 based on a belief that all women deserve access to higher education in a setting that fostered academic excellence. In that spirit, St. Kate’s made higher education available to women regardless of economic class or status from the local Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and beyond.
Funding is supported by the United States Department of Education under the Student Support Services Program (84.042A) under award number P042A200777.