A Little TRIO History

Our nation's commitment is to provide educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. 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 by the Department of Education 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.

TRIO programs target high risk students: two thirds of students served must come from families whose parents have never completed a four-year college program (referred to as first-generation) and who are economically disadvantaged. TRIO Program students mirror our nations' multicultural and multiethnic society. Graduates of TRIO are working in business, industry, government, medicine, law, education, communications, sales, finance, politics, transportation, publishing, law enforcement, computer science & technology, engineering, accounting and in many other employment settings.

How The Program Works

Over 1,200 colleges, universities, community colleges, and agencies now offer TRIO programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants. The federal government's TRIO programs are designed to identify promising students, prepare them to do college level work, provide information on academic and financial aid opportunities and provide tutoring and support services to students once they reach campus to ensure college retention and graduation.

Talent Search

Talent Search programs serve young people in grades six through twelve. In addition to counseling, participants receive information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs. This early intervention program helps people from families with incomes under $24,000 (where neither parent graduated from college) to better understand their educational opportunities and options. Over 323,541 Americans are enrolled in 361 Talent Search TRIO programs.