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EPCC Awarded Largest Grant in Texasfor the Student Support Services Program (SSSP)

El Paso, Texas, August 17, 2020- The Department of Education TRIO Programs awarded a $707,647 federal grant to El Paso Community College (EPCC) for the Student Support Services Program (SSSP), which is the largest award in Texas and the eighth largest in the nation.  The objective of the grant is to provide academic and other support services to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students to increase students’ retention and graduation rates, facilitate their transfer from two-year to four-year colleges, and foster a supportive institutional climate.

 “The EPCC Student Support Services Program team are dedicated to our students' success and strengthening our El Paso community through education,” said Lucia Rodriguez, Student Success Director at El Paso Community College.  “The SSSP staff work daily to accomplish great student success results that ensure our students start strong and finish their education.”

The SSSP has helped first generation students at EPCC for more than 30 years.  As a result of this grant, an additional 600 students will be served each year over the five-year grant program. SSSP Manager, Cynthia Velasco, is excited for the opportunity to continue fostering an institutional climate supportive of student success.  “In addition to academic tutoring, students receive advice and assistance in postsecondary course selection, information on financial aid programs and benefits, counseling services designed to improve financial and economic literacy and activities to assist students apply and enroll in four-year programs of postsecondary education. We assist students to develop academically and personally on their way to graduation.” Velasco said.

 “I don’t know where I would be without all the wonderful help from SSSP,” said Cody Brady, a non-traditional student at EPCC.  “The staff are a blessing, always willing to help no matter what issue may arise.  After being out of school for almost 20 years, the Student Support Services Program has been a key element in helping me thrive in school.”

Students participating in SSSP also benefit from online services.  Sebastian Arroyos who has been in the program for four semesters said the program has been extremely helpful and he is grateful for the assistance.  “The tutors are magnificent; they help us out (the students) with any homework we may need help on.  SSSP has been especially helpful now that EPCC transitioned to online courses,” Arroyos said.  “The services given to the students are wonderful.  Joining the Student Support Services Program is the greatest decision I have made while being in college.”

For further information about El Paso Community College Student Support Services Program call (915) 831-2128 or visit

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