Student Support Services Introduction

Introduction and Scope


Student Support Services (SSS) is funded through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant is designed to aid institutions in providing an array of academic, career, personal, and financial services to eligible students. The primary objective of SSS is to increase the retention and graduation rates of students who are low-income, first-generation, or qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act.



Students who are interested in receiving services must meet the following eligibility criteria:

·         Accepted for enrollment or currently enrolled at the University of Mary

·         Be a citizen or national of the United States

·         Must have a need for academic support in a post secondary program


·         Meet federal low-income guidelines (see income table below), or

·         Your parents did not complete a four-year bachelor level degree, or

·         You are qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act


Interested students must complete an application that will be reviewed by Student Support Services to determine their eligibility.


Program Services

Program Services:


Freshman Orientation Instruction

Incoming freshmen who have pre-applied to the SSS program and are eligible to participate, have the option of enrolling in a freshman orientation leadership section (ALU 122) that is instructed by a SSS Academic Advisor. The pre-application and enrollment in a SSS ALU 122 freshman section begins a student's participation and eligibility for services that may include one or more of the SSS financial aid programs.


Academic and Personal Advising

Participants can receive academic advising assistance from SSS their freshman through senior years in college. If participants are undecided about a major, SSS can serve as the student's primary advisor until the student chooses a major. The SSS program provides a very good network for students to receive personal advising. If warranted, SSS will guide students to other student counseling services on- and off-campus.


Financial Aid and Financial Literacy Awareness

The SSS program works closely with University of Mary’s Financial Assistance and Student Accounts offices. SSS staff helps eligible students better understand the financial aid application and billing processes and provides financial literacy and awareness information for participants.


Early Pre-registration Submission

Each semester, students participating in SSS can receive pre-registration assistance from SSS advisors. The advisors also help students understand the requirements of their particular major and academic school. SSS participants are allowed to submit their pre-registration forms early to ensure they get the classes that they need.


Career Advising and Referral

The SSS program provides basic career guidance and testing to help students clarify their career goals and chosen major. The SSS program also cooperatively assists students by referring them to the University of Mary's Career Services office for specialized guidance.


Graduate School Application Assistance

The SSS program provides all active and inactive participants with application information for graduate school. The SSS program will also help interested students to access University of Mary library resources that provide computerized GRE and GMAT practice testing and instruction.

Program Benefits

Supplemental Financial Grant Aid for First- and Second-Year Students

In order to qualify for the supplemental grant aid, a student must be in their first or second year in college; be an active participant in Student Support Services; have a financial aid award that includes a Pell Grant; and have unmet need. If a student expects to be a Pell Grant recipient and has student loans and unmet need, the student may qualify for this grant. (Special Note: The availability of grant aid is dependent on annual appropriations from the federal government. These funds are limited and are awarded only to eligible students actively participating in SSS. Some restrictions apply for athletes (NCAA rules) and students who have full institutional scholarships. The Financial Assistance Office at the University of Mary makes the final determination of eligibility for all awards.

Contact Information

University of Mary

Student Support Services

7500 University Drive

Bismarck, ND 58504

Monica Powers, Director 

(701) 355-8194 


Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Benedictine Center, Room 129

Lower Level, West Wing


Frequently Asked Questions

1.   What is Student Support Services (SSS)?

SSS is a federal grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and designed to provide academic and personal assistance to students who are low income and/or first generation and have academic need as determined by the institution. Students with disabilities are also eligible to receive services provided they have academic need as determined by the institution. The goal of the Student Support Services program is to increase the college graduation rate among low income and first generation students and students with disabilities.


2.   Can Only Low-Income and First-Generation Students and Students With Disabilities Receive Services?

Only low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities who have applied and were determined to have need for academic services can receive assistance from the Student Support Services program. 


3.   Do I Have to Pay for the Services I Receive from the Student Support Services Program?

No, all services are free to eligible students. Students must first apply so the SSS program can determine if they meet the required eligibility criteria.