TRIO Student Support Services Program

Partner with support staff to realize your ability for academic, career, and personal growth.

The TRIO Student Support Services Program (formerly known as Expanding Horizons) promotes the academic success of our students who complete a TRIO SSS application (In English, En Español) and meet the following criteria:

  • Qualify as income-eligible OR
  • Are a first-generation University student (neither parent has completed a four-year college degree) OR
  • Are registered with the Disability Services Office AND
  • Demonstrate an academic need for the program such as having a low high school or university GPA or SAT score or by placing into developmental courses. Developmental courses include Basic Reading, Basic Writing, Basic Math I or II. Students with a major which requires a higher minimum GPA such as: Exercise Sports Science, Game Design, Nursing, Education, Communications or Human Services may also qualify.

Our Services

  • Pre-semester orientation for eligible Freshman and Transfer Students.
  • Academic counseling including study skills and time management training.
  • Assistance from a Professional Math Tutor.
  • Pre-advising for course selection.
  • Graduate school counseling.
  • Mid-semester progress reports from faculty.
  • Financial aid advising and financial literacy education.
  • Social and cultural activities and events.
  • Squad Leader Program

What are other TRIO programs doing?

More Information

Scheduling Your Tutoring Appointment

The TRIO SSS math tutor, Aaron Shumsky, is scheduled by emailing Aaron directly at Aaron’s hours change every semester so please make sure you contact him for his hours before attempting to schedule an appointment. Appointments with Aaron are available both in-person and via Google Meet.

Pre-Advising Period

The Pre-Advising Period is the month before registration for classes actually begins. During this time you must meet with your faculty advisor in order to have your schedule approved and be given your Alternate PIN. TRIO SSS advisors will help you create a schedule to bring to your faculty advising appointment.

Not sure who your advisor is?

  • You can find your faculty advisor listed in SSC on the right-hand side under “Advisors” and in Degree Works on the left-hand side under “Advisor.” If you have any trouble locating your faculty advisor please ask your TRIO SSS advisor to help you
  • If you are a Pre-Major, you do not have a Faculty Advisor yet, you will get your PIN from the Academic Advising Center located on the 3rd floor of the Hammond Campus Center
  • TRIO SSS participants meet with your TRIO SSS advisor to create a proposed schedule, talk about classes, and ensure that you feel supported and comfortable with the registration process

Registration Period

Important Links:

Students interested in Fitchburg State University Scholarships can either pick up an application in the financial aid office (Anthony Room 108) or find them online beginning February 1st. All applications must be submitted to the financial aid office by March 1st. More information is available on Academic Works.

Interested in studying abroad? Check out the Diversity Abroad website for available scholarships available just for study abroad students!

Additional Sources for Scholarship Opportunities

  • Educational Opportunity Centers
  • Education Central - Worcester
  • Boston Public Library - Boston
  • University Financial Aid Office
  • Internet Sites (MS Word)
  • Student Support & Student Affairs Office
  • Local hometown/community
  • Parents' place of business
  • Clubs and organizations

Make sure to Thoroughly Read the Criteria of Each Scholarship Opportunity

  • Good academic performance - this may be important, but is often not the only requirement
  • Community service - this includes volunteer activities
  • Special interests/talents
  • Athletics
  • Hardships/obstacles
  • Interests and talents - music, art, drama - maybe you are a left-handed oboe player

Possible Scholarship Timeline

January 1st - February 1st Do Taxes
  Research & Scholarships
  Request recommendation letters
February 1st - February 15th Reminders to letter writers
  Pickup Scholarship Applications
February 15th - March 1st Pickup recommendation letters (Fitchburg State scholarship application submitted by March 1)
March 15th Many scholarship applications due. Don't be late.
April 1st - May 1st Track scholarship applications

* Please note: Each scholarship will carry its own deadline schedule.

Tips For Having The Best Chance To Receive A Scholarship:

  • Fill out the scholarship application. You have nothing to lose.
  • Read the application, follow all instructions, pay attention to deadlines.
  • The personal statement is important: it tells the scholarship reader something about you that is unique - this may be your personal story, your goals, your interests, and/or your “why” - what makes you do the things you do? If you need help with this, TRIO SSS is here to help.
  • Don’t forget to proofread your application - TRIO SSS is happy to read your essay before you submit it.
  • Ask early for letters of recommendation from faculty and the staff community, club leaders, advisors, etc. You should be asking for letters at least, if not more, 2 weeks in advance. Choose someone who will actually write the letter.

Online Tutoring Resources

Writing Resources

  • APA formatting
  • MLA formatting

Graduate School Resource

Career Resources

FAFSA Resources

Mental Health Resources

Meet our Staff

Beth Swartz Director of TRIO Student Support Services

Elizabeth Swartz

Phone:  978.665.4613     Email:
Jessica Shea Advisor TRIO Student Support Services
Academic Advisor

Jessica Shea

Phone:  978.665.3064     Email:
Sonia Root TRIO Advisor Headshot
Academic Advisor

Sonia Root

Phone:  978.665.4615     Email:
Kristen Burns TRIO Student Support headshot
Administrative Assistant

Kristen Burns

Phone:  978.665.3576     Email:

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Questions? Get in Touch!

Our hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

TRIO Student Support Services

The TRIO Student Support Services staff works with students who are from families where neither parent has earned a baccalaureate degree, who are from low-income backgrounds, and/or are students with disabilities.
Hammond Hall 315