Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

For personal, professional and global responsibility

In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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Notre Dame College has received $1.3 million from the Federal TRIO Program to help low-income first generation and special needs students at the College earn their undergraduate degrees.

The Federal TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program grant will provide academic and career advising, tutoring and related assistance to improve the retention and graduation rates for 140 students at the College. The federal SSS funding, to be applied over the next five years, will provide for four full-time employees, plus tutors, to aid students who are the first in their families to pursue bachelor’s degrees and students with disabilities at Notre Dame to persist and complete their degrees.

“Notre Dame College was one of only 25 institutions in Ohio, and one of only three private colleges statewide to receive the Student Support Services grant,” said Florentine Hoelker, Ph.D., dean of the Finn Center for Adult, Online and Graduate programs at the College, who wrote the grant. “The College receiving the SSS grant is testimony to its staff and faculty who committed their time to assisting SSS students and also to the external stakeholders who committed time and other resources to ensuring the success of the SSS Program at Notre Dame College.”

The Notre Dame student population is about 40 percent Pell Grant eligible and 40 percent first generation. About 10 percent have documented learning disabilities. In addition, 99 percent of all students at the College receive financial aid.

A distinctive aspect of the Notre Dame SSS program is that it will include connecting these students to cultural events to help build their confidence, as well as their social and cultural capital, for success during and after college.

The grant also calls for an internal commitment from the College and external support from the community to aid students in the SSS program.

The SSS grant builds on two signature programs already at Notre Dame.

The College is home to its First Generation, or FirstGen, Center that connects students who are the first in their families to pursue bachelor’s degrees with meaningful peer, faculty and staff relationships to increase their academic success. The center also offers leadership, mentorship and career networking opportunities, among other services.

Notre Dame also is the site of the renowned Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences. This center provides personal advising, tutoring, career development and social activities to members with documented learning disabilities who tend to be underserved in higher education.

About the Student Support Services Program

The SSS grant competition awards funds to higher education institutions to help students achieve basic college requirements, assist in academic development and motivate students to persist and complete postsecondary education. The goal is to increase college retention and graduation rates. SSS projects also may provide grant aid to participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.

About Student Support Services Projects

All SSS projects must provide academic tutoring; counsel and help with college course selection; information on financial aid programs, including public and private scholarships; and financial aid application assistance. Education to improve financial and economic literacy often are included. The SSS projects may cover personal, career and academic counseling, exposure to cultural events, mentoring programs, and aid for students who may be homeless or in the foster care system.

About Federal TRIO Programs

The Federal TRIO Programs are designed to identify and assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.

September 2020

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or