The Program for Academic Support Services (PASS) has been aiding disadvantaged students in reaching their academic goals since 1990, offering services such as counseling, university field trips, specialized counselors and mentors, and more.

PASS specifically caters to students with circumstances that could prevent them from reaching their academic goals. To qualify, students must be either disabled, a first-generation college student, or in a low-income household, along with having the ambition to graduate college.

Obtaining a college degree isn’t always easy for those who have to deal with those kinds of struggles. Often, students that are dealing with these struggles don’t even begin the process. The National Center for Education presented in a study that students that come from disadvantaged homes are less likely to enroll in college let alone graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a study from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that this also limits potential earning income over a lifetime.

To compensate for any financial instability students may face, PASS provides vouchers for books and food. These vouchers are provided by program funds that come from state grants and federal aid. Also, PASS students are offered workshops on transferring, financial aid, and financial literacy.

Last year, the program helped 35 students in the program graduate from PCC, and it plans on helping more this year with their workshops.

“One thing that is most particular for PASS is that we only services 206 students so it allows for us to have consistent contact, follow up and interactions with our participants. These effort helps with retention and completion,” program director Margarita Rivera said. “We currently have 175 [transfer] applicants in the program. Our [students] have been accepted to a wide range of universities such as UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Davis”.

According to program administrator Ofik Abedi, the mentors and tutors in PASS can provide for the individual need of a student, whether it be an academic or personal conflict.

“What’s great out the PASS program is that we have a lot of different resources that our students can access,” Abedi said. “If a student needs help with a class we have tutors, if a student needs someone to talk to about daily life we can also be a friend and listen.”

The PASS program staff all share the desire to see students graduate and move forward with their education. They do all that they can to make sure students have the tools and guidance that they need.

“We can provide assistance with setting up counseling appointments or filling out college applications,” Abedi said.

To apply for PASS, their application can be picked up office in D-112 or apply online.

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