TRIO Student Support Services

About TRIO Student Support Services

Mission Statement

The mission of TRIO SSS 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.


a timeline graphic of the history of TRIO


Sometimes people ask, "What does TRIO represent?" The following history of the TRIO programs may help answer that question.

Upward Bound was created by the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964, the original War on Poverty statute. Upward Bound helps eligible people and veterans prepare for higher education. Talent Search was created by the original Higher Education Act of 1965. Talent Search programs serve young people in grades six through twelve better understand their educational opportunities and options. When the 1968 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act created Student Support Services and transferred Upward Bound out of the Office of Economic Opportunity into the Higher Education Act, the TRIO label was born. Student Support Services helps eligible students to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degree. 

The first reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 1968 prompted the TRIO label that continues to be used today. TRIO referred to the three programs: Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services, which existed within this reauthorization of the Higher Education Act designed to assist eligible students to begin and complete a post-secondary education.

Today, TRIO is five not three programs under one umbrella. The second reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1972 created the Educational Opportunity Centers. Educational Opportunity Centers primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers by helping them to choose a college and a suitable financial aid program. Most recently, the fifth reauthorization of the TRIO programs in 1986 created the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. It took 22 years, from 1964 to 1986, to construct the current array of TRIO programs.

What does TRIO represent?

TRIO is our nation's commitment to the dream of education for all Americans regardless of race, Disability, ethnic background, or economic circumstances.

TRIO Programs at a glance

Last Updated: 1/30/24