Students in TRIO for Educational preparation and Success (STEPS)
Students in TRiO for Educational Preparation and Success (STEPS) is a federally funded TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program. The TRIO programs began under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and in 1968, SSS was funded to form the third program making a "TRIO" of federal programs. TRIO programs were established as part of the "War on Poverty" to help low-income, first generation college students or students with disabilities earn baccalaureate degrees. All TRIO programs help students overcome cultural, social, academic and class barriers to education.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a Student Support Services five-year grant to State Fair Community College Sept. 1, 2000, to begin the STEPS program. In August 2010 the program was extended for an additional five years. The STEPS program serves 160 students each year by providing skills improvement, academic advising, financial aid/scholarship advising, career counseling, transfer counseling , personal counseling, workshops, campus visits to four-year colleges and universities, and cultural activities. The goal of STEPS is for each participant to successfully transfer to a four-year institution and earn a baccalaureate degree.
Sonya D. Bowman, Director
BS Northwestern State University-Natchitoches, LA
MA Northwestern State University-Natchitoches, LA
National Certified Counselor
Skills Improvement (SI) is a form of academic assistance for traditionally difficult classes at SFCC in which many students have not succeeded. Students attend a designated section of the targeted class along with a student SI leader who has already successfully completed the class. The trained SI leader then leads a study session at regularly scheduled times to help the student participants learn "how to learn" the subject. In the sessions the students are assisted with note taking, graphic organization, vocabulary acquisition, and test preparation. Skills Improvement is regularly offered in algebra, contemporary math, writing, and computer skills.
STEPS participants receive individual advising to determine their goals and needs and to help develop their plans for success. Advisors inform participants of their options for academic activities and support services. Advisors also answer any questions regarding the college catalog, registration, and financial aid. Participants meet monthly with their advisors to plan appropriate activities to ensure a smooth transfer to a 4-year institution. Advisors act as student advocates when participants encounter difficulties in college services and regularly monitor each participant's progress so that intervention can reduce the student's risk of failure.
Financial Aid/Scholarship Advising
Advisors ensure participants accurately complete and submit their financial aid applications promptly and follow up on the applications to ensure participants receive priority financial assistance. Advisors inform participants about scholarships, work study programs and additional types of non-institutional aid.
STEPS staff provide career counseling to participants. They provide testing to help participants identify careers suitable to their interests, abilities and values. Advisors guide students in career exploration.
STEPS staff assist participants in gathering information about four-year colleges, selecting a degree program, financial aid and satisfying entrance requirements for admission. The staff arrange campus visits to regional four-year institutions. These services are available to participants while they are enrolled and after they have graduated if they decide to investigate baccalaureate degrees at a later date.
Personal counseling is available to participants in dealing with academic and non-academic problems. Referrals to other agencies are arranged for problems outside the scope of services offered by the STEPS staff.
STEPS staff arrange workshops on a variety of topics. Workshops may be facilitated by staff, faculty or guest speakers. Topics may include: computer skills, study skills, note taking, time management, money management, interviewing techniques, test taking skills, communication s and reducing test anxiety.
The STEPS program arranges activities, at no cost to participants, to expand student knowledge of the diversity of cultures represented on campus, in the community, in surrounding areas and globally. Activities may include, but are not limited to, plays, art exhibits, concerts and museum tours. The activities are designed to help students feel a part of the academic community at State Fair Community College as well as the larger community.
The STEPS staff will assist each participant in using email as a mode of communication. Staff will also assist participants in learning how to use the software in the Yeater computer lab and other computer labs on campus. STEPS staff assist students in learning Angel (SFCC Online) and the STAR Banner system. In addition, the STEPS program has five (5) laptop computers available for students to borrow after they have attended a workshop/orientation.
All participants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents seeking baccalaureate degrees and must demonstrate academic need for our services. Some ways to demonstrate academic need are: low placement scores, academic probation, performing below C level in a class, earning a D, F or W in a course that is required for graduation, or being an adult who is returning to school after more than 5 years.
Students qualify for the program by meeting at least one of the following criteria:
1. First Generation Student: If neither parent or guardian graduated with a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution, a student is considered a first generation college student. A student raised by only one parent or guardian who did not have a bachelor's degree is also considered first generation. Even if a parent has associates degrees or lacks only one course for a bachelor's degree, the student is still considered a first generation college student.
2. Low Income: Federal guidelines for taxable income set at 1.5 times the national poverty level determine the income status for a student's family.
3. Disability: Any student with a learning or physical disability documented with the Special Needs office or Vocational Rehabilitation office qualifies.
Federal Guidelines require two-thirds (2/3) of the participants to qualify as low income and first generation, or to have disabilities. Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the students with disabilities must also be low income status.
To apply for the program
It is not necessary to have all the information requested on the application to submit it. Click Apply to the Program (PDF) to print the application. Complete it and send to the address below. Current students may submit an online application by going to mySTAR>Student>I need to ...
State Fair Community College
3201 West 16th Street
Sedalia, MO 65301
The Students in TRiO for Educational Preparation and Success staff offices are located in rooms 151-155 in the Yeater Building.
Sonya D. Bowman, Director
BS Northwestern State University-Natchitoches
MA Northwestern State University-Natchitoches
National Certified Counselor
Christopher Dalton, TRiO Advisor
BS, DeVry University
Lindy Johnson, TRiO Advisor
BS Social Psychology, Park University
Kevin Smith, TRiO Tutor Coordinator
MS Physical Education and Exercise and Sports Science
Wanda Trauschke, Administrative Assistant
A.A., State Fair Community College-Sedalia