COE and TRIO Programs

The Council offers training and services to student support staff at more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Our members and their efforts make all the difference to hundreds of thousands of students participating in TRIO every single year.

a few quick facts

TRIO at a Glance

TRIO programs 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. Through our numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Nearly a million low-income students and students with disabilities each year receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.



Federal TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans’ Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) help students to overcome economic, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education.

Congress mandates that two-thirds of TRIO students must come from families with incomes no greater than 150% of federal poverty levels and in which neither parent graduated from college. More than 3,100 TRIO programs currently serve more than 880,000 low-income students ranging from sixth-grade through adult education.

More than 1,000 colleges, universities, and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants. Every five years, TRIO programs at institutions must reapply for a federal grant to continue. Although colleges and other institutions run TRIO programs, students can enroll in certain programs in elementary or high school.

Giving a helping hand to low-income students is both the right thing to do and in our national self-interest. Too many promising, even brilliant students grow up in low-income surroundings with little family wealth to help smooth their paths. Helping them is a significant investment; the United States needs students of every background who are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success to remain competitive with other nations. But many challenges remain. And like it or not, family wealth makes all the difference. Lack of money is one reason why low-income students are being left behind. Once enrolled, low-income students earn bachelor’s degrees at a rate that is less than half of their high-income peers — 21% compared with 45%. America’s highest and lowest-income students may have similar talents and potential, but there is a wide gap between the groups in college attendance. Few low-income students achieve a college degree, no matter how talented they are. That is why TRIO is so essential. TRIO programs step in the gap for many individuals, but many more are not served as budget dollars are limited.

how COE supports TRIO PROGRAMS

We work hard on Capitol Hill to expand the number of students served by TRIO and with the institutions and agencies sponsoring TRIO programs to ensure they’re as innovative and effective as possible.

The Council offers training and services to student support staff at more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Our members and their efforts make all the difference to hundreds of thousands of students every single year.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson never forgot his experience as a young man teaching impoverished children in a Texas elementary school. It may have been a motivation behind including the Upward Bound program in the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act, part of his War on Poverty. It was undoubtedly behind signing the 1965 Higher Education Act that included the Talent Search program. For the first time, the federal government would help low-income students reach for educational equity and enter college. In addition to these two programs, in 1968, Student Support Services was rolled out as part of the Higher Education Amendments. Together, the three programs became known as “TRIO” but grew to include four more student programs that followed over the next few decades: Veterans Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program, and Upward Bound Math/Science. In 1976 the federal government added, as part of TRIO, a Training Program for Federal TRIO programs for professional staff. In the 1970s, student support professionals who staffed these programs began to form associations to pool training and ideas on how best to serve the students.

More than four decades later, COE’s membership includes more than 1,000 colleges and agencies. The Council offers webinars, courses, and other services to its members, all in the cause of helping low-income students enter college and graduate. More than a million low-income students and students with disabilities receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.

COE has, from the beginning, advocated for more federal money for TRIO programs. COE staff, member colleges, and students themselves visit Capitol Hill every year to testify to the effectiveness of TRIO programs. They point out that the budget for TRIO covers less than 5 percent of eligible students and ask for increases to the TRIO budget. Progress has been slow but steady. Just as important, COE efforts and proven results from TRIO programs have inspired bipartisan support in Congress.

Through it all, COE has helped grow the federal budget for TRIO from less than $200 million in 1985 to $1.1 billion today, enough to cover more than 800,000 students. But COE won’t rest until there are places in these programs for all who need the help to attain educational equity.

TRIO Services

  • assistance in choosing a college
  • tutoring
  • personal and financial counseling
  • career counseling
  • assistance in applying to college
  • workplace and college visits
  • special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics
  • assistance in applying for financial aid
  • high school academic assistance
  • assistance to reenter high school or college

Upward Bound

Upward Bound

Upward Bound (UB) is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. Campus-based UB programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. UB also offers intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms. 956 Upward Bound projects are serving more than 70,000 students. Recent analysis from the U.S. Department of Education showed that 86 percent of Upward Bound students in the 2013–14 high school graduation cohort enrolled immediately in college following high school graduation.

Upward Bound Math-Science

Upward Bound Math-Science

Using a similar model to Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science provides students with a rigorous math and science curriculum in high school to encourage and enable them to successfully major in critically important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines in college. Currently, there are 211 projects serving more than 13,100 students. Indeed, 70% of Upward Bound Math-Science programs have postsecondary enrollments of 80% or higher.

Veterans Upward Bound

Veterans Upward Bound

The Veterans Upward Bound program provides intensive basic skills development and short-term remedial courses for military veterans to help them successfully transition to postsecondary education. Veterans learn to secure support from available resources such as the Veterans Administration, veterans associations, and various state and local agencies that serve veterans. There are 64 Veterans Upward Bound projects serving more than 8,400 students. According to the National Association of Veterans Upward Bound Program Personnel, in 2010-2011, more than 60% of recent program participants were enrolled in postsecondary education programs.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services

Student Support Services projects work to enable low-income students to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees. Participants, who include disabled college students, receive tutoring, counseling, and remedial instruction. More than 202,000 students are now being served by 1,069 Student Support Service programs at colleges and universities nationwide. Recent studies of Student Support Services found that program participation resulted in statistically significant higher student retention and transfer rates, improved grade point averages, and credit accumulation. Program participants also bested their similarly situated peers in degree completion at two-year colleges (41% vs. 28%) and four-year colleges (48% vs. 40%).

Educational Opportunity Centers

Educational Opportunity Centers

Educational Opportunity Centers serve displaced or underemployed workers from families. These Centers help individuals choose a college and a suitable financial aid program. There are 142 Educational Opportunity Centers in America, serving more than 199,000 individuals. A recent analysis of performance data of the Educational Opportunity Centers found that more than half (57.6%) of “college-ready” students enrolled in institutions of higher learning and 71% of eligible EOC participants (high school seniors, postsecondary dropouts) applied to college.

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement program encourages low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching and prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors. This program was named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion. Currently, there are 187 projects serving more than 5,200 students. According to recent performance data, in 2013-14, 69% of McNair participants who graduated in 2010-11 were enrolled in graduate school; meanwhile, 83% of students who first enrolled in graduate school in 2012-2013 persisted in their studies.

TRIO Logos

The font used in the logo is Humana Sans Bold. You can download any TRIO logo in .jpeg and .eps formats by clicking on the links below and downloading the compressed folder. Once you download the .zip file, right-click it and extract all images to save your requested logo. These logos are free for the community to use.

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