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SAGE: Supporting Academic Goals for Education

Ginger Coats, SAGE Program Coordinator
(336) 838-6557


SAGE (Supporting Academic Goals for Education) is a Student Support Services TRIO grant program funded through the Department of Education. SAGE is located on the third floor of Thompson Hall in Room 257.
Our hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm., and Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

SAGE provides many services to eligible WCC students.  

SAGE members offer specific tips on how family members/significant others can support their college student. 


The contents of this video were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. 

This statement is in keeping with EDGAR Sec. 75.620 


Objectives and Outcomes 

Supporting Academic Goals for Education (SAGE) is a Student Support Services federal grant funded TRiO program that began at Wilkes Community College in 1979. The purpose of this program is to provide academic support services to increase the college success rates of its participants. Participants must be first-generation college, low income, and/or students with disabilities. All participants must have a need for academic support. 


The most popular SAGE services are tutoring and peer facilitated study groups. For 2014-2015 SAGE provided 1,920 hours of tutoring and group study to 102 students (unduplicated head count) at a cost of $14.11 per hour or $265.51 per student for a total of $27,082. SAGE also awarded scholarships to 51 eligible participants totaling $34,424.  


The objectives listed below are set by the Department of Education. The results are tabulated and reported to the Department of Education annually. SAGE submitted its 2014-2015 Annual Performance Report on December 1, 2015 with the following data. 


Number Funded to Serve:  In 2014-2015 SAGE was funded to serve 175 participants, with the following Department of Education requirements. Of all participants served 66% must be first generation and low income, and 33% of participants with disabilities must also be low income. 


Number Served:  178 participants served or 101.71% of the objective was met. First generation and low income students = 147/178 or 82.58%; and disabled and low income students = 10/12 or 83.33% 


Objective #1- Persistence Rate:  62% of all participants served by the project will persist from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015, or graduate and/or transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year institution during the 2014-15 academic year. 

RESULTS:  84.26% persisted - 150/178 participants persisted as defined above. 


Objective #2- Good Academic Standing Rate:  90% of all participants served by the project will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing at the grantee institution. (WCC defines good academic standing as a cumulative GPA of 2.0) 

RESULTS:  95.23% were in Good Academic Standing - 160/168 participants were in good academic standing with an average cumulative GPA of all 178 participants equaling 3.11.  


Objective #3- Graduation Rate:  38% of the students who joined SAGE in 2011-12 will graduate with a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree within four years, or by the end of 2014-15. 

RESULTS:  72.53% graduated within four years - 66/91 students from the 2011-12 cohort graduated by the end of 2014-15 with associate degrees or diplomas. 


Objective #4- Graduation and Transfer Rate:  11% of the students who joined SAGE in 2011-12 will graduate and transfer to a 4-year institution by the end of 2014-15. 

RESULTS:  25327% graduated and transferred within four years - or 23/91 students from the 2011-12 cohort graduated and transferred by the end of 2014-15. 



SAGE is one of the federal TRiO programs funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of Education, whose purpose is to increase the retention, graduation, and transfer rates of its members. We are funded to offer free academic support services to 200 (beginning September 1, 2016) eligible members. The SAGE staff is committed to advising, guiding, and providing necessary information and resources to assist SAGE members in achieving their academic, career and personal goals. An eligible member is a full-time WCC student who has a need for academic support and who:  

1) is a first generation college student (meaning neither parent has a 4-year degree), 

2) qualifies as income-eligible 

3) has a documented disability. 

The Department of Education established the criteria for membership in SAGE to encourage and assist students who are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education. 

Print the application here. 


Active Membership
After enrolling in SAGE, a student is expected to meet with a SAGE peer mentor for the following mandatory assessment meetings: SAGE Moodle class, financial aid/program check sheet, instructor expectations/classroom behavior, and academic goals/steps to achieving goals. Attending these meetings is a great way to make sure the student is succeeding and has the information and resources necessary to succeed. Maintaining the status as an active member is necessary to continue receiving services the next academic year and to be eligible for the SAGE Grant Aid scholarship (other eligibility requirements apply). An active member is defined as a full time student making academic progress and participating in at least three SAGE services or activities per semester.  


SAGE Grant Aid Scholarship
The SAGE Grant Aid Scholarship is awarded in the fall and spring semesters. To be eligible to receive the scholarship, a SAGE member must have attended the three meetings each semester listed above and be an active member as defined above. The SAGE member must also be receiving the Pell Grant, have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, making academic progress and have completed the modules in the SAGE Financial Literacy Moodle class. The SAGE staff meets as a committee and ranks members based on a rubric, which is printed on the scholarship application. Scholarship awards are typically made at the same time as the final financial-aid disbursement. 

2015-2016 Members' Comments from the SAGE Program Evaluation: 

  • "I enjoy SAGE. It is a wonderful benefit to have at the college. I have always been pleased with SAGE and before I was a member, I was always being referred to join by fellow members. I'm very glad I did I listened to them!" 
  • "I will truly miss being here next year, the help that I have received from the staff here has keep me in college without SAGE I know I would have never made it to where I am today in college. Thank You from the bottom my heart that's not nearly enough for what you have given me." 
  • "I just want to say how much I appreciate SAGE!" 
  • "Thanks to all for their help and support that are associated with sage!" 

SAGE services that were most helpful to me: 

  • "The progress meetings and opportunity to be given the scholarship. The meeting were wonderful because i get feedback from instructors that i wouldn't necessarily ask for on my own. The scholarship helps with finances while i am unable to work due to being a full time student." 
  • "Computer lab were I can gain support with online assignments and be able to print off homework. SAGE advisers and mentors have given much needed assistance with homework, emotional support, and guidance through my college experience." 
  • "Tutoring and computer lab assistants. Tutor had vast knowledge of subject and I needed support on computers sometimes. The SAGE scholarship was a tremendous help financially." 
  • "Tutoring because it helped me to pass my classes with an A or B." 
  • "Lending of books and laptops with lack of financial means and fact I didn't own my own computer helped me greatly this semester with all my success!!" 
  • "Tutoring really helped me improve my grades by helping me better understand the class material and helped me stay on track better to get my work done in a timely manner. Workshops also helped me find better ways to do things in college, such as study methods and different ways to take notes to help me do better on tests." 

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Meet the Staff 

John Canty, Director
B.S., High Point University
M.A. Higher Ed., Appalachian State University


Kim L. Perkins, Educational Advisor
B.S., Appalachian State University
M. Ed., North Carolina State University


Kirsten Seatz, Academic Specialist
B.S., Appalachian State University


Ginger Coats, SAGE Program Coordinator
B.S., University of Tennessee at Knoxville 
M.B.A., University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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Academic Services: 

Academic Advising - helps students select appropriate classes that will enhance skills and satisfy career goals. 

Academic Skills Building - helps students strengthen skills such as test taking, study skills, goal setting, time management and self advocacy; 

Bridges Alumni Board - networks graduates with WCC SAGE alums at 4-year colleges or in the workforce;  

Campus Visits - help students navigate the university system and make connections with key departments and personnel; 

Career Exploration - provides students the opportunity to explore their interests, skills and values so they can make informed career decisions; 

College Transfer Advising and Advocacy - provides individualized assistance with college selection, completing applications, gathering information on housing and financial aid, campus visits and networking with other TRiO programs;  

Computer Lab - provides Internet connected computers equipped with a variety of software and staffed by lab assistants; 

Financial Aid Advising - helps students with completing the FAFSA and securing all possible means of financial assistance so they can afford to stay in school; 

Financial and Economic Literacy - provides education and counseling for personal budgeting, money management, handling credit, dealing with debt, preventing identity theft and locating financial aid and scholarships; 

Grant Aid Scholarships - provide financial assistance; 

Laptop Lending - provides students access to Microsoft Office 2010 and wireless Internet;  

Learning Styles Inventory - provides feedback on learning styles and motivations; 

Lending Library - provides students the opportunity to borrow textbooks or calculators; 

Life Coaching - facilitates collaborative goal-setting for successful academic, personal, and career outcomes; 

Monthly Newsletter - sent via email, informs members of upcoming events, important dates, and news; 

Peer Mentors - second year SAGE members serve as a vital link to share academic success skills, help first year students build a supportive network and connect with campus resources. 

Personal Counseling - provides a safe and confidential environment where students talk about issues which may impede educational success; 

Progress Reports - provide mid-semester information about grades and class performance; 

SAGE Web Page - allows members to access the newsletter, calendar of events, and links to informative sites; 

Study Groups - provide an effective, supportive network to increase study skills and learning; 

Tutoring - supplements classroom instruction and helps students master concepts. 


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2011-2012 Members' Comments from the SAGE Program Evaluation: 

  • SAGE has made my transition back to academia a very easy one." 
  • Progress reports were awesome because they helped better my grades." 
  • Tutoring and study groups enabled me to obtain better grades." 
  • Mentoring exceeded my expectations. It helped me learn new ways to learn." 
  • The tutoring sessions were not only for learning, but also for sharing and forming friendships." 
  • College transfer advising with the SAGE advisor kept me on track." 
  • Tutoring helped keep me focused and maintain a great GPA. Campus visits gave me an idea of what attending a university is really like." 

SAGE services that were most helpful to me: 

  • "Academic advising, college transfer advising and tutoring most helpful. These have all assisted me greatly in achieving my goal of a 4 year bachelor's degree." 
  • "College campus visits and transfer advising were most helpful because it gave me opportunities to visit campuses and learn more." 
  • "Book lending - saves me money. Tutoring - helps me understand concepts." 
  • "Tutoring helped me stay focused and kept me at par with what was being taught." 
  • "College transfer advising helped me the most and gave me useful information. No one in my family has gone to college and they have no idea how to begin to help me." 
  • "Tutoring helped me understand math and helped me make an 'A' in class." 
  • "Computer lab and the help from assistants.";

Comments taken from Mentees about the Mentoring Program: 

  • "I wasn't sure I needed a mentor, but she was fantastic and helped me out a lot." 
  • "It was quite helpful learning new ways to learn. It exceeded my expectations." 
  • "I learned more about myself and how to ease stress when taking a test." 


Calendar of Events 

Upcoming Campus Visits: 

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Other Links 

Academic Support Center 

AccessAbility Services 

Financial Aid Office 

Financial Aid Information 

Job Placement 

SAGE Newsletter 

WCC Scholarships 


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