Partner With Us

Through strategic collaborations, COE works to strengthen access to educational opportunity for all students.


Together, we can help ensure equitable educational outcomes for all students.

College access and success services, like the TRIO programs, are vital to ensure equitable educational outcomes for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities. Through strategic partnerships focused on advancing education and career success, COE helps ensure all students receive the support they need and its partners achieve mutual goals.


Why Partner with COE?

Invest in a diverse talent pipeline.​ You want to ensure the modern workforce has a highly educated and diverse pool of talent. COE is committed to preparing students to make the most of their education by providing interview prep, essential skill development, and access to competitive internships.

Advance the holistic development of students. You want students to have the skills and opportunities to become well-rounded leaders. COE aims to provide opportunities for first-generation and low-income to develop as leaders, entrepreneurs, and global citizens.​

Access our network of professionals who serve over 840K students. You want to have an impact on the professionals who work tirelessly to ensure students have equal access to higher education and the resources necessary for completion. COE connects professionals with the latest insights and evidence-based best practices for college access and success. Help ensure first-generation success!

Provide equitable educational opportunities. You want to support COE as we continue educating and advocating for the needs of first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities. Support COE’s larger mission and initiatives so we can expand our services and impact by donating to our Educational Opportunity Campaign.​

Our Impact

COE has worked to close the education equity gap for over 40 years as the largest national organization serving low-income and first-generation students. Today, federal college opportunity programs reach less than 10% of the total number of students that need their services. Our partners can help ensure we expand our impact.
More than 6 million students have graduated from college with the special assistance of TRIO programs.
Access and Success Professionals
Annually, more than 3,000 access and success professionals receive professional development and technical assistance either in-person, virtually, or both.
Member Colleges and Agencies
Over 1,000 member colleges and agencies with college access and retention programs use COE services.
Low-Income Students
Over 840,000 low-income students and students with disabilities receive college access and retention services annually through COE’s member colleges and agencies.

Ways to Collaborate

Help students prepare for live after college through career development initiatives


Support first-generation student success through experiential learning programs


Show your support of college access and success by sponsoring an event


Invest in the mission of COE through the Educational Opportunity Campaign


Become a Sponsor

For more information, contact Corinne Taylor at [email protected].


Career Development Opportunities

COE aims to ensure that first-generation and low-income students and alumni have the skills necessary to thrive in the competitive workforce. COE works with partners to provide critical skills and leadership development opportunities to ensure learners have equal footing in the job market. Invest today to gain significant returns by strengthening the future workforce.


COE established the Thomas R. Wolanin Congressional Internship program in 2018 to provide paid congressional internships to first-generation and low-income students. The experience is awarded yearly to one graduating senior or recent college graduate who has participated in a federal TRIO program. The paid, 4-to-6-week internship includes an assignment in a Congressional office preceded by several weeks in COE’s Washington, D.C. office. COE named the opportunity in honor of the Late Thomas R. Wolanin, former staff director of the Subcommittee on Post-Secondary Education in the U.S. House of Representatives, a champion of access and affordability in postsecondary education, and a committed advocate for first-generation students.​

COE established the Career Pathways Program to help increase equitable employment outcomes among first-generation and low-income students. The program provides opportunities for student career exploration, preparation, mentoring, and hands-on skill development through internships and other work readiness opportunities; connects students to employment opportunities they may not otherwise experience; serves as a hub for employers to identify diverse talent for high-demand jobs; and supports the development of social capital as students connect with employers, TRIO alumni mentors, and other professionals.​

COE established the National TRIO Alumni Association (NTAA) to promote the continued existence of TRIO programs and foster enduring relationships between alumni, students, and partners through intellectual, professional, and personal connections. NTAA hosts professional development webinars, networking events, and mentorship opportunities for their national network of TRIO alumni. ​


Helping to reduce income and wealth disparities between first-generation, low-income college students and their more affluent peers

The TRIO Career Development Program (TCDP) provides employers with access to skilled, diverse talent while helping to ensure TRIO students—first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds–have access to competitive career opportunities. Through its holistic approach – from the pre-recruitment through internship and career launch phases – TCDP is helping to reduce income and wealth disparities between first-generation, low-income (FGLI) college students and their more affluent peers.

TRIO, shorthand for the Federal TRIO Programs, is one of the largest federal infrastructures serving first-generation, low-income college students from K-16 and adults each year. Over six million students have graduated from the TRIO programs—namely, 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.


Student Development Opportunities

COE is devoted to bringing valuable, hands-on learning experiences to first-generation and low-income students who otherwise may not experience such opportunities. These offerings provide students leadership development skills, global citizenship, entrepreneurial practice, and STEAM career exposure. Partner with us to ensure a diverse talent pipeline prepares for the workforces of today and tomorrow.​


STEAM skills and education is essential to preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. COE is committed to developing free and widely available STEAM curricula that ensure low-income and first-generation students prepare to meet math and science competencies. Initiatives include our partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal to bring innovative and fun STEAM curricula to pre-college TRIO students through the JURASSIC WORLD RULE YOUR FUTURE STEAM INITIATIVE.​

COE hosts more than 150 TRIO high school students each summer to participate in a rigorous six-day leadership experience in Washington, D.C. The Leadership Congress invites students from Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science, and Talent Search programs across the United States and its territories. Students meet with their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill; engage in conflict resolution workshops and diversity training; and undertake a group research project on a current critical policy issue, which includes drafting legislation and participating in a mock congress. ​

Increasingly, developing global competencies are a critical component of what it means to be a college graduate. Students entering the global workforce must be able to cross borders and cultures with ease. But formative experiences such as study, travel, and internships abroad remain largely the province of middle- and upper-income students. COE founded the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program with the notion that all college students should have access to international experiences. The program supports the study of TRIO college students with demonstrated leadership skills in a short-term (three-to four-week) or semester-long course of study. Since 2000, more than 350 low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities have participated in COE-sponsored study abroad programs in Great Britain, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain. ​

The business pitch competition allows students to develop a brief competitive presentation to propose their business ideas to an audience and a panel of judges. In this national competition, contestants can win scholarships and prizes while practicing their entrepreneurial skills as the business leaders of tomorrow. The competition is entirely virtual.​

The national Opportunity Matters Book Club was launched in 2021 to encourage low-income and first-generation students to explore the power of literature and how they can use their voices to create change. Book clubs meet regularly on the local level to explore the dynamic themes presented in the literature of books such as Across That Bridge and The March Trilogy by the late Congressman John Lewis, House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and Finding Me by Academy Award-winning author and TRIO alumna Viola Davis. Additionally, book clubs convene on the national level for a multi-part series of virtual discussions led by prominent leaders, including Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, U.S. Congresswoman and TRIO Alumna Gwen Moore (D-WI-4). Our annual book club engages hundreds of students across the nation.​

Event Sponsorships

COE brings together thousands of college access and success professionals, students, and TRIO program alumni each year for rich opportunities to learn, network, celebrate, advocate, and engage. Whether it’s the annual conference or an alumni convening, our sponsorship opportunities provide unique opportunities for companies to customize their involvement based on their message and desired outcomes.


COE’s Annual Conference is the premier national conference for college access and success professionals to uncover the latest insights on advancing opportunity through collaborative, research-driven solutions that can strengthen outcomes for low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities. Join over 2,000 TRIO leaders and the broader education equity community, including policymakers, educators, and other college opportunity professionals, for the latest insights and evidence-based best practices for college access and success. Celebrate the outstanding achievements of the alumni recipients of the National TRIO Achievers Award at the annual Educational Opportunity Awards Dinner.

In 2017, COE and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration. Each year on November 8 – the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965 – we encourage colleges, universities, corporations, non-profits, and K-12 schools to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, staff, and alumni in every possible way. Partner with COE to celebrate the success of first-generation students and work to advance an asset-based national narrative on the first-gen experience and outcomes.

As a partner of the National TRIO Alumni Association (NTAA), you will have various opportunities to engage with our network of talented TRIO alumni who have overcome socioeconomic barriers and demonstrated first-generation excellence as graduates of our programs. TRIO alumni have advanced in careers in private industry and the public sector, and many went on lead TRIO programs themselves. As a partner, you can engage with alumni at any stage—as recent college graduates or established professionals in their field. NTAA is an excellent resource for identifying diverse talent.

Policy Seminar is an annual event connecting advocates for low-income, first-generation students served by the TRIO programs to Capitol Hill. It includes three events: the Leadership Summit, the Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education, and the Legislative Conference. Sponsor this event to show your support for low-income and first-generation students.

Current and Previous Partners

Featured Partnerships

Jurassic World Dominion Director and Stars Share Experiences with TRIO Students on the Eve of the Movie’s Release

Book Club Blazes Pathways to Leadership

The Council for Opportunity in Education and Comcast NBCUniversal Launch $1.5 Million “Jurassic World Rule Your Future STEAM Initiative”

How Thomas R. Wolanin Intern Matt Tessema is “Becoming a Voice for the Underrepresented”

Council for Opportunity in Education Partners with Nucleus to Host Pitch Competition for Student Entrepreneurs

COE Hosts Education Secretary Cardona to Facilitate 2021 Book Club Discussion with TRIO Students Nationwide

in their words

It’s still about building leaders, and COE has really continued to stay focused on their mission in terms of student engagement, student development, and helping students remove some of those financial barriers in order to be able to live the dream.
VP Philanthropy at Strada Education Network

in their words

Comcast is working with COE on an initiative called “Build Your Own Future with STEAM” that will change the demographics in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) careers. It raises awareness of the importance of STEAM careers and the steps that students—who have had no direction— need to take to get to those careers.
Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski
Senior Director, Internet Essentials, at the Comcast Corporation

in their words

One thing COE does that’s most relevant to us is its annual report, Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States, [produced by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education]. The metrics measured in that report on a longitudinal basis are the very metrics that we use for most of our philanthropic grantmaking.
Dick George
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Ascendium Education Group, formerly the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation

in their words

It’s palpable how much this whole professional [TRIO] community cares and is looking out for low-income, first-generation students. If they weren’t there, so many people would not have been able to access that college dream and really make it a reality.
Jennifer Engle
Acting Director, U.S. Program Data, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Support Us

If you are a student support services professional, thank you. You are an unsung hero for all the good that you do, and surely you know by now that COE has your back.



Through strategic collaborations, we work to strengthen quality, opportunity and access to education for all American students — the next generation of global leaders.

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Join more than 1,000 colleges and community agencies committed to postsecondary opportunity for low-income, first-generation students, students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico!

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