Southeast Awarded $1.7 million Grant to Continue Support Services Program | SKCTC

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Southeast Awarded $1.7 million Grant to Continue Support Services Program

Cumberland, KY -- Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education federal Student Support Services (SSS) grant totaling $1.7 million to continue helping low-income and first-generation students succeed in college.  

The goal of the program is to increase retention and graduation rates among these students and facilitate their transfer to a four-year college after they earn an associate degree.

“We appreciate this generous award,” said Southeast President Vic Adams. “The support services that the grant makes possible are vital to our students’ success, particularly those who are the first in their families to enroll in higher education.”

The college will receive $1.7 million over the next five years – nearly $338,000 per year – to support the SSS program, known at Southeast as the Academic Advantage Program.  Participants can choose from a menu of support services, including tutoring, academic advising, career, personal and transfer counseling, as well as workshops on financial aid, economic literacy, and cultural enrichment. The program also sponsors visits to four-year institutions, based on student interest, and will soon launch a leadership academy.

“I am thrilled to know that the Academic Advantage Program has continued to be successful and has received funding for another five years,” said Rebecca Kilbourne, a former SSS participant and a Southeast graduate.  

Ms. Kilbourne went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.  She credits the program not only for her academic success, but for helping her to choose a career and plan her transfer to a four-year university. 

“Being a first-generation college student, the services provided through Academic Advantage allowed me not only to feel confident about my abilities but equipped me with the tools and skills I needed to succeed in college and choose a career,” she said.

Now entering its 48th year operating at Southeast, Academic Advantage is one of the oldest SSS programs in the nation.  The program recently gained national attention when the U.S. Department of Education chose to include research about the program into the “What Works Clearinghouse,” created to provide evidence-based best practices to practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. The program’s better-than-average success rates was noted, as participants are nearly three times more likely to graduate and four times more likely to transfer than non-participants.

“We are extremely proud of the outstanding work Academic Advantage does on behalf of our students,” said Dr. Adams, “and we are pleased that it has been recognized on a national level.”

For more information about the Academic Advantage Program, contact Dr. Deborah Hodge, program coordinator, at (606) 589-3063 or by email at


A photo of Chrisman Hall on the Cumberland Campus.(Southeast’s nationally recognized Academic Advantage Program has received additional grant funding.)