From staff reports

Southern Maine Community College has received a $125,000 grant to offer financial and academic support to students in Portland public schools who attend SMCC, according to a statement released Thursday.

A two-year grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation, with matching funds from SMCC, will go to establish the MySuccess program, which will include an intensive two-week summer program, a $200 summer stipend, a $500 scholarship toward the student’s first semester, and a coach to work with students year-round, the SMCC statement said.

The program is a partnership between the John T. Gorman Foundation, SMCC, Portland public schools and Portland ConnectED, a community coalition that aims to improve educational outcomes for Portland students.

The program is available to graduates of Portland public high schools who plan to attend SMCC full time this fall. The two-week summer program begins in late July to prepare students for college-level studies and for college life. The coach will help students improve life skills, such as financial literacy.

The program will increase the number of high school graduates going to college and improve their chances of success in college, said Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. About 80 percent of Portland students graduate from high school, but less than half will earn a college credential within six years, according to a Portland ConnectED report released in April.

“It’s imperative that every student has a pathway to success,” Caulk said in the statement. “The MySuccess program will provide a seamless transition for Portland graduates enrolling in SMCC to receive the necessary supports to ensure they successfully complete college.”

To apply, students should submit applications to their school guidance office by June 20 or the SMCC admissions office. Applications are available at www.smccME.edu/mysuccess or at [email protected] or 741-5800.