WWC review of this study

The Impact of the Student Support Services Program on the Retention of Students at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Sundy, C. M. (2017). Mississippi State University.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grade

Reviewed: May 2021

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Cumulative GPA

Student Support Services Program vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
250 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Rural
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  • Race
    Other or unknown


The study was conducted at the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College which is located in rural Appalachia and is a two-year institution. The college is the only public, open-door college in its region and has an annual enrollment of about 5,000. Since the rural Appalachia counties it serves has some of the highest poverty levels and lowest educational attainment levels, many of those enrolled are high-risk students, minorities, low-income and/or people with disabilities. Over 80% of those enrolled at the college are eligible to participate in the Academic Achievement Program.

Study sample

Race, ethnicity, and gender characteristics were not reported in the study. 85% and 70% of the intervention group and comparison group, respectively, were low-income. 90% and 83% of the intervention group and comparison group, respectively, were first-generation students.

Intervention Group

The Academic Advantage Program first began in 1972 and serves 140 students who are low-income, first-generation or who have a disability every year. It offers services to engage students and help them stay enrolled. The program aims to increase college retention and graduation rates, transfer to four-year institutions, and foster a supportive institutional climate. Students in the study had access to services as long as they were enrolled. The program provided comprehensive academic and personal support through developmental classes and supplemental instruction, tutoring, mathematics and writing skills specialists, academic progress monitoring, career and educational planning, major and course selection through degree audits during individual advising sessions, transfer planning, campus visits to four-year colleges, workshops for academic and personal growth, informative newsletters, social events, and cultural enrichment activities.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition had access to business as usual services, including the college's Academic Support Center.

Support for implementation

The program was funded through a Student Support Services grant.


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