Welcome to TRIO/Student Support Services Program!

TRIO/Student Support Services is a program funded through the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to help eligible students remain in college and graduate.


Students who are interested in receiving services must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Accepted for enrollment or currently enrolled at the University of Mary
  • Be a citizen or national of the United States
  • Have a need for academic support in a post-secondary program

Students must also must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible for services:

  • First-generation college student (neither parent has a bachelor’s degree)
  • Income eligibility  (please see attached application for current income eligibility levels)
  • Have a documented physical or learning disability

Services Offered

  • Academic/personal advising
  • Mentoring
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Early registration
  • Financial aid and scholarship information
  • Financial literacy
  • Freshman orientation instruction
  • Career advising
  • Referral services
  • Study skills workshops
  • Cultural events
  • Book, merit, and supplemental grant aid
  • Preparation for graduation
  • Resume writing assistance
  • Graduate school preparation

If you are interested in applying to TRIO and meet eligibility requirements for the program, please complete a TRIO/Student Support Services applicationCompleted applications may be brought to the Student Success Center, lower level Welder Library or emailed. Your application will be reviewed by TRIO staff to determine official eligibility.

TRIO/Student Support Services Grants

There are three types of grants you may qualify for through the Student Support Services/TRIO program at the University of Mary:

There are three types of grants you may qualify for through the Student Support Services/TRIO program at the University of Mary:

New students accepted into TRIO/SSS are eligible for a book grant after completion of their first successful semester. Returning TRIO students maintaining satisfactory academic progress will receive a book grant in the fall and spring semester. Awards will be applied after the add/drop date.

General Satisfactory Academic Progress standards must be maintained to receive the book grant. Students must have completed the financial literacy requirement.

New students accepted into TRIO/SSS are eligible for a Merit Grant after completion of their first successful semester. Returning TRIO students earning the required GPA, and meeting program requirements will be eligible for a Merit Grant in the fall and spring semester. Awards will be applied after the add/drop date.

Merit Grant Requirements

  • Students must have been in the TRIO program at least one semester.
  • Students must have earned a 3.0-4.0 GPA the Spring/Fall semester prior
  • Students must have completed a minimum of 67% of the credits they have attempted.
  • Students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits.
  • Students must have met with their TRIO advisor a minimum of three (3) times during the semester.
  • Students must have completed the financial literacy requirement.

The TRIO Director will notify the Financial Aid Office which students qualify for Book and Merit grants. The Financial Aid Office makes the final determination of eligibility and adjustments to a student's financial aid package. Students are personally responsible for verifying with the Financial Aid Office their possible eligibility and impact on their awards/costs. The Financial Aid Office has the authority to amend this policy at any time to comply with changes in institutional policy.

TRIO/Student Support Services provides its students the opportunity to apply for additional fall and spring grant aid through our program and federal grant aid money. If additional money is available, there may be the possibility of summer grant aid, as well.

TRIO students who have completed 60 credits or less, have earned a 2.0 GPA or higher, and who are receiving a Federal PELL grant, are eligible to apply for the supplemental grant aid. Amounts of awards vary. Money awarded will be determined by the number of students applying for the grant and need, as well as allowable award amounts. To qualify for the grant, in addition to the eligibility requirements, you must complete a grant application and a minimum 250 word, typed and double spaced, essay telling us why you should be selected for this grant and making a special note of how this grant could ease your risk of possibly dropping out of school. Applications and instructions for the grant will be emailed to current TRIO students the semester prior to the award.

Applications will be reviewed based on the Department of Education's criteria, previous semester's cumulative GPA, completion of program requirements, and your participation in the TRIO program.

*All awards must be verified with the financial aid office to ensure that you are not over awarded. Please let this serve as notice that although you may be chosen for a top award, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships determines the maximum number of grant dollars you may actually receive.

Scholarship Information

Not sure where to begin your scholarship search? Check out our extensive list of scholarships you may qualify for. These are very general, but there are many scholarships available that may be specific to your area of study. If you would like to complete further research, please see your TRIO Advisor for help with our resources.

Meet the Staff

Student Support Services/TRIO Academic Advisor


Welder Library 129

Stephanie Huber is a native of Hazen, North Dakota. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she balanced academics, athletics, and the arts playing volleyball and acting in various drama productions. During that time, she also developed a passion for travel and cultural exchange. Before she finished her master’s degree in Education from Boise State University, she squeezed in three study-abroad and two work-abroad programs, cementing her calling to higher education and realizing her skillfulness at academic planning! Stephanie previously worked as a TRIO/Academic Advisor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and an English/Speech/ Drama teacher and volleyball coach for the Hazen School District. She called many different places home before settling back in Hazen where she and her husband are raising four boys. Stephanie joins the University of Mary TRIO SSS Team just in time for Fall 2021 classes to begin and cannot wait to start meeting students!

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

Student Support Services/TRIO Advisor


Welder Library 130

Mary Montoya was born and raised in Parker, Colorado. She moved north to Bismarck in 2015 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication with a focus in public relations at the University of Mary. Once graduated, she worked in the office of public affairs as the event specialist at the university. Mary is passionate about students and watching them excel in the classroom and life. As a former student involved in TRIO, she is excited to use her own experiences to mentor students to become the best version of themselves.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you have become by achieving your goals” – Zig Ziglar

Director Student Support Services/TRIO


Welder Library 131

Brenda Nottestad joined the University of Mary community in September 2013, as an academic advisor, freshman and transition seminar instructor, and served for a time as program director for the Title III Grant. She accepted the position of TRIO Director in November 2016. She has several years’ experience in higher education having previously worked at Bismarck State College as student accessibility coordinator and a veteran certifying official. As well, during her tenure there, she was active as a local and state workshop presenter. Her undergraduate degree was obtained through Dickinson State University and she earned her Master of Educational Leadership degree through North Dakota State University. She considers herself a lifelong learner and believes we should always look for opportunities to enrich our minds and develop our gifts. Brenda enjoys working with an SSS team that is so gifted and excited to create a community for students where they can grow personally and academically.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to growth.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Student Support Services/TRIO Advisor


Welder Library 128

Kristi Wanner is a graduate of University of Mary where she earned her Bachelor’s degrees in English Education. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in pastoral ministry from the University of Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota. Kristi has a long history at the University of Mary as she was the campus ministry director for seven years before moving to the position of TRIO advisor for Student Support Services. During her time as campus minister she was also able to do missionary work for the Diocese of Bismarck in Kenya, East Africa. During these missionary experiences she worked with orphans to ensure they had food, shelter, and the basics for an education. She enjoyed this work very much and loves to learn more about people and other cultures. She was very excited to begin her work with TRIO and is passionate about supporting students as they work to achieve their academic and professional goals.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

Student Support Services Newsletters

October 2021 Newsletter

September 2021 Newsletter

March/April 2021 Newsletter

February 2021 Newsletter

January 2021 Newsletter

November/December 2020 Newsletter

Student Support Services at the University of Mary is committed to creating and maintaining a supportive environment for program students and encourages academic excellence and integrity, student success, individual responsibility, leadership, and service.

The TRIO advisors are like personal trainers that give you the tools you need in order to succeed with both academic and life goals. Without the support and resources provided by TRIO, I would not have been able to finish my degree.


Have Questions?

We’re here to help. Call the Student Success Center at 701-355-8124 or email us.