Skip to main content

Student Support Services Program

Dr. Elizabeth Thangaraj, PI/Program Director  Program Office: SSSP NA6/148 Tel 212-650-6825

The Student Support Services Program (SSSP) is funded by the US Department of Education, for low-income, first-generation and students with special needs, who are US citizens or permanent residents. The goal of the program is to provide those services that will improve student chances for success at CCNY. There are Six components to the Program: (1) Counseling (2) Tutoring, (3) Financial aid and Grant aid services, (4) Mentoring (5) Major Events and (6) Extra-curricular programs. The Program is listed on the CCNY website


Freshmen, continuing and transfer students who are in any one or more of the following groups are eligible for SSSP. Entering freshmen with low SAT scores, those from TRIO programs in middle or high school, transfer students who were members of  special programs such as ASAP, EOP, SEEK, or SSSP in their prior college; students who are undecided about their majors or those in demanding disciplines needing counseling or tutoring to improve grades and academic standing. Students with GPA’s below 2.5, and those moving from a STEM to a humanities or social science discipline, are placed on a waiting list for one year before being formally admitted to the program. Those interested, in enrolling in SSSP, complete an on-line application at the SSSP website.

Counseling Academic Advising

Upon entering SSSP students connect with an individual counselor who provides personal, academic, and professional counseling for the duration of their college program. SSSP counselors support the rich development of their students’ lives so they excel in their studies and are prepared for graduate and professional opportunities. The SSSP counselor initiates for the student an academic program plan which over the course of four years entails choosing a major and minor, course selection, registration problem-solving, tutor referrals, letters of recommendation, monitoring academic progress, financial aid counseling on eligibility requirements and factors that affect financial awards, career exploration, the graduate and professional program application process, connecting the student to CUNY services and resources, and encouraging students to apply for the prestigious Zitrin Scholarship, Zitrin  Scholar & Mentor Tutor award, SSSP’s Scholars Showcase research exhibit, Cultural diversity program, SSSP Grant Aid, and to become integral members of the program, its activities and services.  The SSSP counselor commemorates this enduring relationship alongside the student at SSSP’s May Awards celebration


SSSP’s Academic Resource Center (Marshak 1104) is a unique study space that offers students free specialized tutoring across the disciplines, a venue for student events, a computer lab and a reference library.  One-on-one, scheduled tutoring is our mainstay, though we do accommodate drop-ins, set up group-tutoring sessions, create a platform for student activities, and produce the only remote writing review service on campus, SSSP E-Tutoring, which now offers reviews of resumes as well as essays.  Our in-person tutoring comprehends STEM subjects, social sciences, humanities and writing.  Our basic tutoring model is a weekly, 50-minute session with the same tutor, who grows familiar with each student’s learning process.  In ARC training sessions, a guiding principle is “meeting the tutee half-way,” which means avoiding a lecture format in which the tutor leads and the tutee passively accepts knowledge.  Instead, tutees are encouraged to be active learners and tutors to see themselves not as instructors, but as learning coaches.  ARC hosts the annual SSSP Scholars Showcase poster presentation every March. We have also hosted many exam review sessions, academic workshops and a 12-week creative writing seminar.  As part of our collaboration with CCNY’s Accessibility Office, ARC sponsors intensive tutoring programs for students with special learning challenges.

Financial Aid and Grant Aid

Students have four avenues for receiving financial assistance at SSSP. (1) Through Grant Aid for those receiving PELL financial aid. Priority is given to students entering the program and those who have not received Grant aid in the past. (2) Students also serve as paid tutors (@ $13/hr) and Zitrin mentors ($250 for the semester); Zitrin Peer Mentors/ Tutors ($500 per semester). (3) An alumni scholarship (Zitrin Peer Mentoring and Tutoring) of $5,000 is offered to four students selected on the basis of academic excellence and community service. (4) Students are encouraged to use SSSP as site for Federal Work Study. A financial aid workshop is held to inform students of Federal and State financial aid policies and available loans and scholarships. A session on budgeting is also held for students

Mentoring Program

The purpose of the program is to provide SSSP entering students contact with an upper division student at CCNY. It also ensures that all students are participating in the various services of the program. Mentors are trained by academic advisors/counselors who have received training through the CCNY Peer Mentor training Consortium.


SSSP holds three major events during the academic year.

The Cultural Diversity Program brings students together for an appreciation of culture through presentations on cultural topics by students of different backgrounds. Students are encouraged to present a topic in art, food, literature or music that they identify with. The Faculty-led session is led by a professor of Psychology and touches upon American culture and experience.

Scholar Showcase is a showcase of students research and academic projects across disciplines is held in March. Poster presentations of academic research in the field of social sciences, computer science, biology, chemistry, education and engineering are presented. Students  are also encouraged to present a poster on a topic of interest, or a study abroad experience.

Annual Awards Ceremony The purpose of the awards ceremony is to recognize students for their achievements; to motivate students to strive for excellence; allowing student’s time for reflection to see a broader picture of their progression and future education. It also serves to bring to surface outstanding students for the college community to become aware of and to provide further opportunities for accomplishments. CCNY divisions of Social Sciences, Science, and Engineering present divisional awards to outstanding SSSP students. Graduating seniors and students with outstanding records are recognized with trophies and medals. Tutors, Mentors, Federal Work Study students and Student aides receive certificates of appreciation for their contributions to the program.

Extra Curricular Programs

Information and developmental workshops are held each week to help students be aware of academic and career opportunities. Workshops include: Career Development  in collaboration with the Career and Professional Development Institute; Academic Policies and Program Planning;  Study abroad information session and student presentations; Financial aid policies and academic eligibility requirements; Financial Literacy, Leadership Opportunities and Service Learning programs and  Graduate schools and Professional School Programs.


Ann Bascom
CCNY, MA., Sociology and Public Administration

Ahalya Bodasing
CCNY, MA., English Literature

Katherine Reynoso
Hunter College, MS

Vatsala Ponnuraj

Tyson Ward
MA., Literature UNC Chapel Hill, CCNY MFA., Creative Writing