Dr. Andrea M. Cummings
TRiO SSS – Director
(904) 470-8216
(904) 994-1051

TRIO  Student Support Services Program (SSS) and Student Support Services STEM (SSS-STEM) are federally funded college retention and completion programs. These programs focus on academic, personal and career support for under-resourced undergraduate students.  Nationally, TRIO SSS Programs provide opportunities for academic development, assist students in meeting college requirements, and motivate students toward successful completion of their college degree.


Leading, Inspiring, and Making a Difference
Background on the TRiO Programs

What is TRiO?
TRiO is a set of federally funded, college–based, educational opportunity outreach programs that motivate and support students from low-income backgrounds, military veterans, and students with disabilities. TRIO provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and support services to over 800,000 middle and post graduate students to help promote college access, retention, and graduation percentages. TRIO students come from families that earn less than $38,000 a year and/or in which neither parent have earned a four year degree.

Student Support Services (SSS), 1 of 8 TRiO programs, provide advice and assistance in postsecondary course selection, assist student with information on both the full range of student financial aid programs, benefits and resources for locating public and private scholarships, and assistance in completing financial aid applications. Our TRiO staff maintains a record of services provided to each participant. A contact service form is completed each time services are provided to our students.

The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants. SSS projects provide academic tutoring, to include instruction in reading, writing, study skills, mathematics, science, and other subjects.

Where did TRIO come from?
The TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. In 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, later known as Student Support Services, was launched in 1968. This “TRiO” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students. By 1998, the TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs have grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math/Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

Why Are the TRIO Programs Important?
TRIO programs help first-generation, low-income students overcome social, cultural, and academic barriers to succeed in higher education. By providing direct services and individually focused and intensive programming geared towards helping students navigate the college admissions and financial aid process, TRIO programs assist students in overcoming the obstacles they face as the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Today, an estimated 5 million students have graduated from college with the support and assistance of TRIO programs across the country.







How do I make an appointment to see a TRiO tutor?
No appointments are needed for drop-in tutoring: Centennial Lab, Monday – Friday 9:00 – 4:00 Evenings from 5:00 – 8:00.

How does TRiO tutoring work?
The best tutoring experience is when a student comes to a session prepared with specific questions. Tutors respond to questions and help fill in the gaps and/or clarify a concept. Tutors and Specialists also provide guidance for students as they work through problems.
When you attend Drop-In Tutoring at Centennial Lab you will first check-in using the signature pad. After you have signed – in you will be given access to a computer. After each tutoring session, you will complete a brief evaluation of your session.

How do I become a TRiO tutor?
Complete the Tutoring Application Form (attach link to form)
Will you let my professor know that I came to the TRiO Lab for help?
At the end of an appointment, your tutor/specialist will ask you if you would like your professor to receive a summary of the session. You are free to accept or decline this offer – we will honor whatever you decide.

Information for Students at Edward Waters College

What can SSS do for you?

SSS Program participants receive support in the areas of mathematics, reading comprehension, writing, study skills and time management.

SSS Also Provides:

  • Academic advising and individual/ small group counseling sessions ;
  • Confidence/Skill-boosting academic workshops;
  • Math/Reading/Writing Tutorial Services (by experienced, well-trained academic specialists);
  • Leadership and Service Activities;
  • Financial Literacy Workshops;
  • Career Exploration Activities;
  • Cultural Enrichment Activities: (Historical site tours, motivational and etiquette seminars, conferences, etc.);
  • Assistance in locating and applying to Graduate and Professional Programs.

Do I qualify for SSS?

You are eligible for acceptance into the SSS Program if you are:

  • A first-generation college student: Neither of your parents have earned their four-year (Bachelor’s) Degree;
  • A low-income student: We use a federally approved formula to determine your eligibility. Students are encouraged to apply, even if they aren’t certain whether or not they qualify.
  • A student with a disability: Must be documented with the DSSC.

How do I apply for SSS?

There are a few ways to find out more and or apply. Choose one and we will GLADLY walk you through the application process!

  • Visit us in the SSS offices on the 3rd floor of the Centennial (Library) Bldg.;
  • Email: laroda.barnes@ewc.edu
  • Call us at (904) 470-8950
  • Like, DM and Follow us on Instagram and Facebook

Meet The Staff

Dr. Cummings
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Andrea Marie Cummings, Ed.D. is a native of Belize which is located in Central America neighboring Mexico and Guatemala. She holds a Doctorate in Education Leadership and a Master’s in Counseling from the University of North Florida (UNF), UNF leadership endorsement, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Belize in Elementary Education.

Dr. Cummings began her teaching career in 1998 at All Saints Primary School (ASPS) in her hometown of Belize City. In her years at ASPS, Dr. Cummings taught and developed lesson plans for children in the second and fifth grades. The experience prompted her in 2004 to pursue a graduate degree, where she continued to work in the field of education as a graduate assistant at UNF. In 2005, she switched professions and became a Family Social Worker/Counselor for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (FSYR).

In her capacity as a family social worker, Dr. Cummings was tasked with providing residential placement screening and family therapy to hundreds of youths and their parents. In addition, she assisted FSYR families by obtaining evaluative consultations for a number of psychological and physical learning disorders.

Dr. Cummings was formerly employed as an Academic Counselor and Adjunct Instructor for Edward Waters College in the TRIO program, as well as Interim Director of Upward Bound, prior to advancing to Paxon School for Advanced Studies International Baccalaureate program located in northwest Jacksonville. She was also the Chief Executive Officer for DePaul School of Northeast Florida where she was recognized in 2015 as one of Jacksonville’s top 30 most influential women by Southeast Small Business Magazine.

Mr. Barnes
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Laroda Barnes, MAED, CGAP hails from Columbus, GA, a bustling metropolis about 90 miles southwest of Atlanta. He holds a BA degree in Business Administration – Finance from Clark Atlanta university, formerly Clark College and a Master of Arts in Education – Teacher Leadership from the University of Phoenix. He also holds the CGAP designation – Certified Government Auditing Professional – from the International Institute of Internal Auditors.

Mr. Barnes began his professional career as a Corporate Planning and Budget Analyst at Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Florida in 1985. Following a brief stint as a Project Analyst in the Information Systems division, Mr. Barnes joined the Regulatory Audit and Compliance division, advancing through the positions of Auditor I, Auditor II, Auditor III, and finally, Senior Auditor, where he had responsibility for major operational and financial audits and compliance reviews of BCBSF’s performance on state, federal, and national contracts. After leaving Florida Blue at the end of 2002, Mr. Barnes worked for two years as a Mortgage Accounting Specialist in the Housing Division of the City of Jacksonville.

Mr. Barnes’ career in Education began in 2005 when he was employed by Kelly Educational Services/Duval County Public Schools as a Substitute Teacher. After two years in that role, he was employed full-time by DCPS as a Middle Grades English instructor at Paxon Middle School in 2007. Over the next several years Mr. Barnes taught English and Introduction to Computers. Simultaneously, from 2008 to 2011, he was the English Academic Specialist (part-time) for the TRiO/Student Support Services program (SSS) at Edward Waters College. After earning his MAED degree in 2013, Mr. Barnes resigned from DCPS in September 2014 and returned to serve the students at EWC as the Counselor for TRiO/SSS.

Mrs. Hall
Administrative Assistant/Database Specialist
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