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What is TRIO?

TRIO is Educational Opportunity for Low-Income and Disabled Americans.

Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance. In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. These Programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (initially just three programs). While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO Programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

History of the Federal TRIO Programs

The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960's, the term "TRIO" was coined to describe these federal programs.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRIO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers.

Amendments in 1986 added the sixth program, the Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement Program. Additionally, in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math/Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Upward Bound Math/Science program is administered under the same regulations as the regular Upward Bound program, but it must be applied for separately.

TRIO Programs At A Glance

For more than 30 years, America’s federally funded TRIO Programs have been helping students from low-income families to finish high school, enter college and successfully graduate. Today, more than 2,600 TRIO Programs serve nearly 823, 000 students. More than 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies offer TRIO Programs throughout the United States and an estimated two million TRIO students have earned college degrees.

  • Talent Search- programs serve young people in grades six through twelve. In addition to counseling, participants receive information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs. This early intervention program helps young people to better understand their educational opportunities and options.
  • Student Support Services- helps students to stay in college until they earn their ba ccalaureate degrees. Participants, who include disabled students, receive tutoring, counseling, transfer assistance and remedial instruction.
  • Educational Opportunity Centers- located throughout the country, primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers. These centers help people to choose a college and a suitable financial aid program.
  • Ronald E. Mcnair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement- programs encourage low-income and minority undergraduates to consider careers in teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.


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Daytona State College 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114 (386) 506-3000

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Last updated: 2017-10-10T14:54:38.226Z