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TRIO Programs Information

Established by the federal government through the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964, TRIO Programs have helped approximately 2 million students graduate from college. The purpose of these programs is to provide and ensure equal opportunities for education to all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic status. TRIO programs consist of seven divisions, three of which we have at Odessa College: Upward Bound, EOC and Student Support Services. Trio programs are unique for several reasons, one being that most programs serve less than 250 students, which provides for more personal interaction between students and TRIO staff. Also, the program is targeted toward low-income and first-generation college students. With participation in the programs, students are supported and encouraged as they work to move higher and overcome social and economic obstacles. Students receive assistance in college admissions, applying for financial aid, tutoring, and exposure to cultural events. Another unique feature of TRIO programs is the direct grant funding from the federal government that is decided by rank based on competitive proposals. This allows the programs to be placed and utilized where they are most needed.

History of TRIO Programs

The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, 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.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRIO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers. The 1976 Education Amendments authorized the Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs, initially known as the Training Program for Special Programs Staff and Leadership Personnel. Amendments in 1986 added the sixth program, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. Additionally, in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math/Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Upward Bound Math/Science program is administered under the same regulations as the regular Upward Bound program, but it must be applied for separately. The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 authorized the TRIO Dissemination Partnership program to encourage the replication of successful practices of TRIO programs. Finally, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 amended the Student Support Services (SSS) program to permit the use of program funds for direct financial assistance (Grant Aid) for current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.  The legislative requirements for all Federal TRIO Programs can be found in the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2.

Other Odessa College TRIO Programs

Student Support Services

Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)


If you have any questions or comments email ybarreno@odessa.edu.