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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Select Student Support Services (4S) Program

Overview

The Select Student Support Services (4-S) Program was created by the Michigan State Legislature in 1987 as part of the larger King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Initiative. The 4-S Program is designed to develop retention programs to benefit academically- or economically-disadvantaged students enrolled at 4-year public and independent educational institutions throughout Michigan.

The 4-S Program aims to increase graduation rates by providing seed money that will serve as a catalyst for institutional change, stimulating more coordinated efforts within institutions, permanently ensuring measurable short- and long-term improvement in graduation rates of targeted students.

The support services provided to students vary greatly from institution to institution.  Many Michigan institutions have developed programs of “best practice” that are very effective in reaching disadvantaged students and implementing systemic institutional change.  Lessons learned over the years include: 

  • the importance of a commitment to the program at the president’s level, which increases the likelihood that institutional barriers can be overcome;
  • programs that address change in institutional systems have a longer-lasting impact; and
  • programs that encourage faculty involvement are critical to improving students’ persistence to baccalaureate completion.

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity-Workforce Development’s (LEO-WD) KCP Initiative provides oversight to the 4-S Program and technical assistance to the institutions.  4-S Team Leaders and their colleagues at the college/university level are invited, and encouraged, to attend other KCP Initiative-sponsored activities such as the annual “Equity Within the Classroom” conference.  Also, the KCP Initiative annually hosts a statewide meeting for 4-S Program Teams to provide an opportunity for programs to exchange information on successful program practices, keep abreast of educational reform, and provide useful suggestions to improve program outcomes.