About TRIO

In 1965, 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 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.

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from income-eligible families, where neither parent graduated from college. Over 2,000 TRIO Programs currently serve 730,000 Americans from low-income families. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of TRIO students are White, 36% are African-American, 16% are Hispanic, 5% are Native American, and 4% are Asian. Sixteen thousand (16,000) TRIO students are disabled.


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 young people to better understand their educational opportunities and options. Over 310,000 Americans are enrolled in 449 Talent Search TRIO Programs.

Maine has two Talent Search programs providing services in 45 schools for 1,611 students.

Educational Opportunity Centers , located throughout the country, primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers. These Centers help people to choose a college and a suitable financial aid program. There are over 126 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving 189,733 individuals.

The Maine EOC has been continuously funded since 1991, and provides services to 2,269 adults per year.

Upward Bound helps young people and adults prepare for higher education. Participants receive instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, and science on college campuses after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. Currently, 761 programs are in operation throughout the United States.

Maine has 7 UB programs which serve 62 schools and 502 students.

Upward Bound Math Science helps students from low-income families, where neither parent graduated from college, strengthen math and science skills. In addition, students learn computer technology as well as English, foreign language and study skills. There are currently 162 programs serving 10,034 students in the United States.

The University of Maine hosts the sole Upward Bound Math Science program, serving 67 students.

Veterans Upward Bound programs provide basic skills development and short-term remedial courses for military veterans to help them successfully transition to postsecondary education. Veterans learn how to secure support from available resources such as the Veterans Administration, veterans associations and various state and local agencies that serve veterans. Approximately 4,200 participants are served annually.

Student Support Services helps students to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees. Participants, who include disabled college students, receive tutoring, counseling and remedial instruction. Students are now being served at over 808 colleges and universities nationwide.

There are 14 colleges and universities in Maine that currently host SSS programs. They are: Central Maine Community College, Eastern Maine Community College, Kennebec Valley Community College, Northern Maine Community College, Southern Maine Community College, Thomas College, University of Maine, University of Maine Augusta, University of Maine Farmington, University of Maine Fort Kent, University of Maine Presque Isle, University of Southern Maine, Washington County Community College, and York County Community College.

Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement programs encourage low-income and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in this program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.


An estimated two million TRIO students have graduated from college.

TRIO Student Support Services participants have a 22% greater chance of entering their third year of college than similar students without the benefit of TRIO.

Students who receive a full range of TRIO services (counseling, special courses and tutoring) are twice as likely to be retained.

Upward Bound students are four times as likely to graduate from college than those students who do not participate in this program.

Over 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America.

TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants.

For more information about TRIO, visit the Council for Opportunity in Education web site: www.coenet.us