TRIO is a nationwide, federally-funded organization committed to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance.
TRIO programs are designed to help low-income and first-generation Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. TRIO projects are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are the TRIO Programs because there were initially three programs (TRIO Educational Talent Search, TRIO Upward Bound, and TRIO Student Support Services). While student financial aid helps students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Who is Served
As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from low-income families where neither parent graduated from college. More than 2,700 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 866,000 low-income Americans nationwide. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12; other programs serve current college students. Thirty-seven percent of TRIO students consider themselves Caucasian, 35% are African-Americans, 19% are Hispanics/Latinos, 4% are Native Americans, 4% are Asian-Americans, and 1% are listed as "Other," including multiracial students. Twenty-two thousand students with disabilities and more than 25,000 U.S. veterans are currently enrolled in the TRIO Programs as well.
Evidence of Achievement
Students in the TRIO Upward Bound program are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO. Nearly 20 percent of all Black and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs. Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.
How it Works
TRIO programs benefit from a host institution, which can consist of colleges, universities, community colleges, and other institutions. These host institutions often house the programs' work and office space; programs serving middle and high schools use the institution as a "home base" while traveling to the middle and high schools to provide services. EOC may staff community sites as well. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.