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The Federal TRIO Programs are outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Congress established TRIO programs to help retain and graduate low-income, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities. These programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers in higher education.

TRIO programs include eight outreach and support programs targeted to help disadvantaged students progress from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound in 1964 and followed with Talent Search in 1965. Support Services was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960’s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these federal programs. Other TRIO programs include Educational Opportunity Centers (1972), Veterans Upward Bound (1972), TRiO Staff Training (1976), Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program (1986), and Upward Bound Math/Science Program (1990).

Amongst the eight TRIO programs in existence today, Student Support Services serves and assists low-income, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities in their journey through the academic pipeline from college term of entrance to postbaccalaureate programs.

Student Support Services (SSS) is an effective TRIO retention program designed to provide academic and personal support to students admitted via profile assessment who qualify as either having disabilities or as low-income, first-generation college students (students whose parents did not obtain a baccalaureate degree). The program serves a diverse student population and provides an opportunity for students who demonstrate high academic need and those who may not meet all admission criteria but indicate the potential to succeed in college. SSS has a positive impact on student success. Its participants are retained and graduate at impressive rates.

Students who participate receive personal, academic, career, financial, and tutorial assistance. Other services provided include graduate and professional school information, cultural events and mentoring opportunities.

SSS provides a summer component to ease the transition to college, establish a strong academic foundation prior to the start of the academic year, and expose students to University resources and facilities. Students receive a comprehensive summer program, individualized academic assistance, and college survival skills. For more information on our Summer Transition for Academic Guidance and Educational Success (STAGES) program, please visit our STAGES page.

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