Frequently Asked Questions

What is SSS?

Student Support Services is a federally funded program, which is designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with a disability. SSS at Cal Poly is funded at $289,000 annually by the U.S. Department of Education and set up to serve approximately 250 students.


Why should I become an SSS member?

SSS is a great place to start your journey at Cal Poly, because of the dedicated professional and student staff who invest in your academic, financial, social and cultural enrichment. The program can help you build on your strengths and address your areas of concern. By becoming a participant, you will gain access to services and opportunities not available to other students on campus.


What can I talk about with my SSS advisor?

There is so much to talk about with your SSS advisor. Conversations can range from “How do I drop a class” and “Where do I go to ______,” to “How do I complete a FAFSA?” and “I am having a problem with my friends and professors.” Really, the sky’s the limit on what you and your advisor can talk about. They are always here to help you in your goal towards graduation!

Back to top

How do I apply for the program?

Interested students may complete an online application on our website. See the Eligibility and Application page for requirements. If there are available slots, eligible students will be contacted to alert them of their eligibility.


How much does the program cost?

All services and activities are free to participants.


What support services are provided?

For additional information regarding these services please visit our services page.

  • Academic Advising
  • Personal Advising
  • Graduate and Professional Advising
  • Individualized Tutoring
  • LINKS Peer Mentor Program
  • Financial Literacy
  • Workshops
  • Cultural Enrichment Activities/Field Trips
  • First-Year Seminar

Back to top

What is the purpose of SSS?

The goal is to increase student retention and graduation by offering additional supportive services and outreach, such as advising, tutoring and mentoring. The SSS staff are advocates for program participants.


Who can participate?

SSS is funded to serve 250 students who are first generation, low income, and/or have a documented disability.


Am I eligible for SSS?

To qualify for SSS a student must be a U.S. citizen, or national, or a recipient of federal financial aid. In addition, students must be first-generation, and/ or low-income and/ or have a documented disability.

Back to top

Who is a first-generation college student?

Any student whose parents did not graduate with a bachelor’s degree.


Is SSS for academically deficient students only?

No. Participants in SSS vary greatly according to age, ethnicity, academic talent, major, and every characteristic in between. The one thing all should have in common, other than eligibility criteria, is a drive to complete college successfully and be well prepared for the future.

Back to top

I was an above average student in high school. Why would I need this type of assistance?

During your college experience, you may need some help regardless of your performance level in high school. In fact, many of the students who enroll in our program had above average grades in high school. Because many students discover that university life presents increased social, financial, and academic challenges typically not experienced in high school, we recommend that students take advantage of the resources available through our program.


Do I need to be a first-year freshman to apply?

We accept applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as transfer students.


How long will I remain in SSS?

As long as you are an undergraduate at Cal Poly.


Is admissions to SSS program automatic?

No, students must complete a program application found in the eligibility tab.

Back to top

Can everyone participate?

No. SSS serves eligible students only. The SSS program is open to students who are currently enrolled at Cal Poly and are first generation college students (neither parent(s)/guardian(s) have earned a bachelor’s degree), meet federal income guidelines, and/or have a documented disability. Additionally, students must be a U.S. citizen (or national of the United States or meets the residency requirements for Federal Student Financial Assistance). The program is an exclusive program and can only serve 250 students each academic year. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis, so do not hesitate to apply.


Will participation in the SSS program interfere with my classes?

SSS meetings, workshops, discussions, and tutoring are all offered to help ensure your success at Cal Poly and beyond. At no time, will you be required to miss class to attend an SSS function.


Will participation in the Student Support Services program appear on my transcript?

No. Participation in the SSS Program is provided to enhance your success at the university. Students' eligibility criteria are held in strict confidence.

Back to top

What is expected of me as a member of SSS?

Once you have been accepted into the program, you must meet with an SSS Advisor three times during the academic year to discuss your academic progress, course selection, educational goals, career objectives, and any other concerns you may have. In your second year you are required to meet with your SSS Advisor two times during the academic year.


How much time will it take every quarter?

The time commitment largely depends upon you. It might be a few hours each quarter or a few hours each week. Please bear in mind that our meetings, workshops, discussions, and tutoring are all offered to help ensure your success at Cal Poly and beyond. At no time, will you be required to miss class to attend an SSS function.


How do I sign up for tutoring?

Please fill out a tutor request form.

Back to top

Is there any grant aid available through SSS?

Yes. Small amounts of grant aid are awarded to first time program participants during the winter quarter.


Does SSS provide testing to determine if a student has a learning disability?

No, we do not provide testing to determine if a student has a learning disability. However, the Disability Resource Center can assist students with the necessary information to find a suitable testing site.


If an SSS student withdraws from Cal Poly but is eventually readmitted to the university, does he/she have to reapply to the program?

No. Readmitted students who were previously active members of SSS need to contact the office and schedule an appointment with an SSS advisor to reactivate their applications. Once students complete this process, they can begin receiving services once again.

What does TRiO mean?

TRiO refers to a series of programs, funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, created to assist disadvantaged Americans in overcoming class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. The term “TRiO” was coined to represent the initial three programs; Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services.


Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Inquiries can be made to the SSS office via phone at (805) 756-5798 or email at sss@calpoly.edu. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am-5:00 pm.

Back to top

Related Content