TRIO Student Support Services

FAQ for Faculty and Staff

What is TRIO - Student Support Services?

TRIO is Educational Opportunity for Low-Income and Disabled Americans. 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 initial three programs were funded under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The mission of TRIO Student Support Services is to provide individualized academic resources and advising to eligible students by developing academic plans and goals, enhancing the student’s college experience and creating an institutional climate of support.

For 15 years, TRIO Student Support Services has been an academic program at UT that serves a specific population of undergraduate students: those who have limited income, are the first in their families to graduate college, or have a disability.

  1. TRIO SSS is an academic program with its own administrative structure, stakeholders, mission statement, program theory, data collection process, and evaluation plan
  2. All TRIO SSS activities relate to specific and measurable performance objectives and the project is required to submit an annual performance report to demonstrate accountability
  3. TRIO SSS’s efficiency is based on the cost per successful outcomes
    1. Extensive intake process to identify students committed to completing their baccalaureate degree at UT in six years or less with TRIO SSS as an active partner in the process.
    2. To sustain the program, the program is dependent on the support of UT.

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 Is TRIO SSS a tutoring program for at-risk students?

TRIO SSS eligible students comprise about 2/3rds of the total undergraduate population and up to 80% of new students each Fall semester. All students admitted to the program have some level of academic need that is based on transcript data, study skills mastery, college and career goals, understanding of financial aid, test scores, college readiness, ESL, and/or other issues that can impact their ability to succeed. However, not all academic needs require tutoring. 

Overall, less than 1/3 of TRIO SSS students receive private tutoring from TRIO Tutor Mentors.
Other services include:

  • Cultural and professional experiences in preparation for life after college
  • Employment opportunities
  • Assistance with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Short-term loan of Math and Science books
  • Inclusive and supportive environment designed to enhance student success
  • Content tutoring for challenging classes
  • Mentoring for underclass students
  • Referrals to campus resources
  • Instruction on strategies to master courses
  • Student advising for academic and other concerns that are critical to increasing graduate/retention rates
  • Easily accessible advising staff with high levels of direct contact hours
  • Realistic and holistic help for navigating and adjusting to collegiate life
  • Encourage exploration of graduate school options and future career choices
  • Workshop opportunities to learn about a variety of topics, including scholarship access, graduate school options and financial literacy
  • Dedicated space for studying or break between classes. 

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What are the benefits to the student from a referral to SSS?

The goal of Student Support Services at The University of Toledo is to increase the college retention and graduation rates among the participants and facilitate the process of training from one level of higher education to the next. Students served by the TRIO SSS receive academic advising and monitoring, peer and professional mentoring, private tutoring when needed, and have access to a technology lab. SSS offers experiences in leadership and personal development for students to prepare them for their futures as a college graduate.

Compared to the general student population, students participating in the Student Support Services program are retained each semester in greater numbers, have overall higher GPAs, and complete their course of studies more often within 5 years than the general population. See related research from the Pell Institute

Based on recorded contacts during an academic year for every 100 served students:

  • 99 received academic advising
  • 35 received TRIO SSS tutoring
  • 51 received tutoring from one or more program in the Academic Support Services department
  • 43 received career counseling
  • 23 participated in a study skills workshop or received private instruction
  • 31 received information or instruction to improve financial literacy
  • 23 received information about applying to graduate school
  • 44 received information or assistance with financial aid or the application
SSS data conclusively shows the effectiveness of the project. 
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
SSS Graduation by Cohort[1] 45% 50%


Persistence[2] 74% 81% 83%
Good Academic Standing[3] 83% 84% 86%
Grade Point Average 2.66 2.63 2.72
Tutorial Course Pass[4] 69% 69% 82%
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 Students served by the SSS project  will graduate with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent within six (6) years of the first reported project year in which the student was served.
[2] Is the rate of participants served by the SSS project will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year or graduate with a bachelor's degree during the academic year.
 Comprehensive tutorial services include the Learning Enhancement Center, the Writing Center, Supplemental Instruction, Math Study Tables and TRIO SSS tutoring. Pass rate is evaluated for students who attended 5 or more tutoring sessions for the same subject and earned a letter grade.

 How do we know if a student qualifies?

Students can visit our website to see if they qualify at

We know that approximately 67% of undergraduate students at UT qualify for the SSS project. You can refer a student to our office and allow us to point the student in the right direction.back to top

How do I know if a TRIO student is in my class?

Students registered with the TRIO SSS program are identified in Banner by cohort. Go to the SGASADD screen and you will see the SSS cohort code. Students must apply to TRIO SSS which involves an application, interview, and several assessments prior to being added to the cohort.

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When should I refer a student to the SSS office?

We are looking for degree seeking students, enrolled full-time. Students who are committed to attending college but have overall adjustment issues to college life despite the ability to do the work are excellent candidates. The best candidate is the one whose grade is between a C & a D, yet has the potential to achieve a passing grade for the course with some advising or other intervention.

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I received a request for a progress report, what is this?

Your progress reports help the students recognize where they currently stand in class and what they need to do in order to improve upon their grades. All TRIO SSS students have authorized our inquiry of and access to academic information by their signature on the TRIO SSS application and intake forms.

Your participation in completing this form is greatly appreciated. We send the progress reports during the first quarter of the semester. If your course is not set up or is too large to provide this information, please disregard the request and accept our apologies. TRIO SSS is based on relationships. It is our goal to foster a relationship between the student and you, as well. The progress reports are an opportunity for you to make comments to further support student success. Your feedback allows us to target our services, provide advising to develop or revise semester goals, and offer referrals to relevant resources such as tutoring, study skills, scholarships, etc.


TRIO SSS has a legitimate educational interest in all student participants who have been accepted into the program. This interest has been firmly established by the student’s application and participation in the TRIO SSS program. Additionally, TRIO SSS staff are identified as UT employees with a legitimate educational interest to review educational records in order to fulfill professional responsibilities and compliance with federal law. Finally, the information is shared with the student in order to support their educational goals. To view the application process follow this link

"Legitimate Educational Interest" is defined on the University of Toledo's Office of the Registrar page here For additional information view our privacy statement at this link

department of educationTo review the federal laws and regulations pertaining to TRIO SSS see the 2016 Fast Facts Report for the Student Support Services Program published by the US Department of Education. The document can be found at the US Department of Education website for TRIO SSS here 

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Typically the goal of a progress report is to help students improve their academic situation. Although this is important, TRIO SSS uses progress reports as a way to foster active academic engagement. Our goal is to provide a connection with the instructor, a self-monitoring tool, and a way to identify specific academic resources.

The majority of TRIO SSS students are first-generation college students (FGCS). While background and college experiences may vary, FGCS tend to perceive family, campus environments, and faculty as less supportive of them. TRIO SSS developed the progress report as a tool for faculty and TRIO SSS Staff to share support and feedback.

We make every effort to not solicit progress reports from advanced courses, senior project/design/capstone course, large lecture halls, internships or co-op courses. We may not request a progress report for a graduating student who we know is actively engaged with his/her instructors and coursework. If you feel the student for which you have received a progress report request is actively engaged or you would prefer to mentor the student privately, we will respect your decision.

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How should I make the referral?

Contact the SSS office at Carlson Library room 0300 MS 523, The University of Toledo. If you have any questions, please follow the Contact Us links or suggest that your student visit our office. You can visit our TRIO SSS Staff directory page to see the list of current staff to make a more personalized referral.

How Do You Know That This Program Works?

Our annual reports to the community highlights our record. To view our reports go to

As an academic program, TRIO SSS has a detailed organizational structure.

  • Highly developed plan of operations 
    1. Director who oversees budget, compliance with applicable laws, preparation of federal reports, and personnel
    2. Policies and procedures consistent with University of Toledo and federal laws
    3. Academic planning includes input from stakeholders (faculty, advisors, office of academic affairs, student evaluations)
    4. Multi-year budget where financial resources are linked to activities and strategies in support of achieving objectives and outcome
    5. Institutional commitment of physical facilities adequate to support the program’s activities and population
    6. Coordination with financial aid, registrars, and the office of institutional research
  • Evaluation and assessment plan based on the logic model
    1. Identified problems derived from research and data
    2. Multi-year strategies with expected outcomes and action plans
    3. Annual report of how data informs of program success

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Last Updated: 7/15/24