University of Dubuque Awarded $1.3 Million Grant to Help More Students Succeed in College

Sep 24, 2020 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque was awarded a federal Student Support Services (SSS) grant of about $1.3 million, or $254,258 each year for the next five years, to help more students succeed in and graduate from college.

In its 10th year, UD’s TRIO-SSS program serves around 140 students each academic year. The program provides students with the opportunity to have additional support through their academic journey.

“But our program is more than just support. We are advocates, we are sounding boards, and we are goal-pushers for our students. This continued funding means we get the incredible opportunity to continue to be that active support for our students through their college journey,” said Melissa Huekels, TRIO-SSS program director.

SSS helps college students who are low income, first generation (those whose parents do not have a four-year college degree), or students with disabilities. The services the grant provides are comprehensive and includes academic tutoring, financial planning advice, career and college mentoring, help in choosing courses, and other forms of assistance. Such services enhance academic success and make it more likely that students will graduate or transfer with the lowest possible debt.

“The pride and joy I have in being able to continue our program here at UD is unexplainable,” Huekels said. “Our students are special and I feel honored to be able to work with and alongside them through their college years. This truly is a gift to our UD campus, and our UD TRIO students are blessed with this continued funding.”

SSS began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal TRIO programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success; it bolsters students from low income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had, and helps students with disabilities remove obstacles preventing them from thriving academically.

To learn more about UD’s TRIO-SSS, please visit