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San Bernardino Valley College STAR Program

By Craig Petinak and Deanne Rabon


SBVCAt San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC), the STAR (Success Through Achievement and Retention) Program motivates students toward the successful completion of their certificate or associate’s degree and provides an array of student support services, including dedicated counseling, exposure to cultural activities, academic and self-improvement workshops, field trips to four-year universities, and academic intervention programs that allow students to work directly with counselors and tutors to improve their academic standing.

For the past 17 years, the STAR Program has been a prominent part of the SBVC Student Services family. Having received a commendation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Committee, STAR is proud to continue to provide SBVC students with outstanding student service.

In early August, the U.S. Department of Education's Federal TRiO Student Support Services Grant Competition Program announced that the application for reauthorization by SBVC's STAR Program was accepted and awarded $1.5 million over the next five years. This total represents the fifth, and largest, Student Support Services grant awarded to SBVC since first receiving funding in 1993. TRiO programs across U.S. college campuses provide opportunities for academic development and success. The STAR Program, serving 200 students each year, offers support services in a comfortable, student-friendly environment.

"With this renewed funding, the STAR Program can continue serving as a valuable home base for students in their educational journey at SBVC," said STAR Coordinator Deanne Rabon. "Whether it's providing encouragement and direction to a struggling student, or exposing them to a myriad of unique educational and cultural experiences they might not otherwise encounter, all of us in the STAR Program are excited to know that we have the funding and the expertise to help them succeed."

During the 2009–2010 academic year, the STAR Program provided participants with long-established services as well as implemented new program offerings, including:

  • academic, personal, and transfer counseling and advising
  • educational field trips to four-year universities
  • cultural field trips and social activities
  • academic tutoring
  • on campus outreach and classroom presentations
  • the Willie Charles Williams Memorial book scholarship ($1,000)
  • supplemental Pell Grant aid awards
  • student workshops and forums
  • laptop computer loan program
  • academic intervention program featuring student success modules
  • student study groups
  • financial literacy workshops conducted by EdFund
  • transfer application assistance
  • educational plan creating and revision
  • student success plan development
  • course overload petitions
  • graduation petition assistance
  • FAFSA (financial aid application) assistance
  • early alert counseling

To qualify for the STAR Program at SBVC, students must be from underrepresented student groups: first generation college students of parents without four-year degrees, low-income students, or students with physical or learning disabilities. In 2009-2010, the STAR Program served 182 students, 21 of whom graduated with a degree or certificate in May 2010, with nearly half achieving at least a 3.0 GPA.

STAR Program graduate Julia Garcia donned her cap and gown at last May's commencement and walked away with highest honors (3.9 GPA) and an associate's degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in biological and physical sciences. She will begin taking classes at UCLA in mid-September as a biochemistry major and has big dreams that include multiple advanced degrees.

"When I came to SBVC from Mexico, I was struggling a lot with English and received so much support and help from the counselors and tutors in the STAR Program," Julia shared. "I really found a family there and they helped me to grow up as a person and a student. I'm now prepared for my next steps in life. The program was very important for me and my career."

The STAR Program continues to play a key role in many SBVC student success stories. STAR is constantly striving to motivate and empower students to reach their academic and personal goals, as well as work through and prevail in times of challenge and adversity.

Students interested in increasing their chances for academic and transfer success with STAR may call 909.384.4433 or visit http://depts.valleycollege.edu/STAR_Program.

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 12/17/2010 at 4:25 PM | Categories: Partners & Friends -