- Programs at a glance
These materials adapted from the Council
for Opportunity in Education
What is TRIO?
Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity
for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic
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.
Who is Served
As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must
come from families with incomes under $28,000, where neither parent
graduated from college. More than 2,700 TRIO Programs currently
serve nearly 866,000 low-income Americans. Many programs serve students
in grades six through 12. Thirty-seven percent of TRIO students
are Whites, 35% are African-Americans, 19% are Hispanics, 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.
How it Works
Over 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges, and agencies
now offer TRIO Programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to
institutions through competitive grants.
Evidence of Achievement
Students in the 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.