Washington, DC: Yesterday, the United States Department of Education announced Student Support Service Program grant awards for Norwalk Community College, University of Bridgeport, and Fairfield University.  Through a competitive grant process, funds are awarded to institutions of higher education to provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education.

·         Norwalk Community College received $339,443 for Fiscal Year 2016

·         University of Bridgeport received $220,000 for Fiscal Year 2016

·         Fairfield University received $280,557 for Fiscal Year 2016

All grants are expected to be renewed each year for a five year period.

Nearly 75% of students entering Norwalk Community College test below college level for math or writing. 57% of University of Bridgeport undergraduate students are either first-generation college students, qualify as low income, or are disabled. Fairfield currently enrolls 3,546 full-time undergraduates from 28 states and territories, Puerto Rico and 32 foreign countries.

“Many students in our local colleges face obstacles that prevent them from staying in school and graduating,” said Jim Himes (CT-04). “Whether those obstacles are financial, academic, or simply being the first person in their family to go to college, they are hard to face alone.  The Student Support Service grants help fund the personnel and facilities to increase the retention and graduation of these students. It’s a program that unquestionably provides an enormous benefit to students in Connecticut and their families and I’m proud the federal government is able to provide this support.”