TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)

Partner with support staff to realize your ability for academic, career, and personal growth.
TRIO Student Support Services Panel two female and one male student

TRIO SSS Application

TRIO SSS (formerly known as Expanding Horizons) promotes the academic success of our students who complete an application 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 Mission, Vision and Services

Our Mission

Student learning, development, and success is the focus of TRIO Student Support Services. Students partner with the TRIO SSS team to develop an individualized support plan that targets their strengths and creates strategies to overcome challenges. Students experience a sense of belonging and develop strong peer connections through outreach and activities. Students’ academic and personal success is the sole focus of TRIO SSS and guides our actions to support college students becoming college graduates. 

How does our mission align with the University? See the University's mission statement here.

Our Vision

TRIO SSS provides targeted, hands-on learning interventions and strategies to assist students in achieving a bachelor’s degree in four years.

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?

Follow the Burg Blog to see what's going on around campus, including our recent 25 year celebration

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 Navigate 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:

TRIO requires each student in our program to complete Financial Literacy. You can do this by attending the Financial Literacy Workshop held each semester for 1 (one) hour. Or contact us if you need an online option.

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

  • Guide to Graduate Certificates
  • Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Guide for 2022 - This guide gives more information about how taking online MSW program is a great option for students who are comfortable with online learning. This includes understanding variations in how programs are structured and a curriculum is delivered, the duration of courses, and other choices you may have as an online MSW student. 
  • Master's in Social Work Degree - The guide shares in more detail how pursuing a Master of Social Work or MSW is a highly sought after graduate degree because it opens up advanced professional opportunities for those who already hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), as well as those entering the field for the first time. MSW provides you with the education, experience, and credential you need to have a successful and productive social work career.
  • Social Work in Massachusetts for 2022 - This guide presents a comprehensive overview of the social work profession in Massachusetts. The guide contains information about Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in Massachusetts. It also contains information about social work licensing requirements in the state.

Career Resources

FAFSA Resources

Mental Health Resources

Meet our Staff

TRIO SSS Director Beth Swartz

Dr. Elizabeth Swartz

Phone:  978.665.4613     Email:
Jamie Cochran Trio
Academic Advisor

Jamie Cochran

Phone: 978.665.3064     Email:
A photo TRIO tutor Alyssa Annese
Academic Advisor

Alyssa Annese

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