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National TRiO Day 2012

2nd TRiO White Towel and Pillow Case Flyer

What is TRiO?  

TRiO is a set of seven federally-funded educational opportunity outreach programs and one staff training program that seek to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, namely low-income, first-generation students.  TRiO programs, currently serving nearly 850,000 students from middle school through post-graduate study across America, provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other supports necessary for educational access and retention.  TRiO programs provide direct support services for students and relevant training for directors and staff.

Where did TRiO come from?     

The TRiO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. (Previously only college financing had been on policymakers’ radar.)  TRiO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.  The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound.  Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search.  Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968.  Together, this “trio” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students.  By 1998, the TRiO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers and veterans.  The original three programs had grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers and Veterans Upward Bound in 1972 to serve adults, Training Programs for Federal TRiO programs staff in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986 to prepare undergraduates from groups underrepresented for graduate study and the attainment of Ph.D. degrees.  The newest program, the TRiO Dissemination Partnership, was authorized in 1998 to encourage the replication of successful practices of TRiO Programs at institutions and agencies that do not have a federally funded TRiO project.

Why are TRiO programs important?  

The United States needs to boost its academic and economic competitiveness globally. In order to foster and maintain a healthy economy as well as compete globally, the United States needs a strong, highly-educated and competent workforce.  To be on par with other nations, the country needs students, no matter their background, who are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success.


Low-income student are being left behind.  Only 38% of low-income high school seniors go straight to college as compared to 81% of their peers in the highest income quartile. Then once enrolled in college, low-income students earn bachelor’s degree at a rate that is less than half of that of their high-income peers – 21% as compared with 45%.


TRiO WORKS! In order to combat the growing achievement gap and make our country more globally competitive, it is essential to have programs that are efficient and effective.  TRiO programs embody the realization of the American Dream. Without an education, there is little chance for upward social mobility.  TRiO programs help low-income, first- generation students achieve their dreams of higher education.   


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