TRIO Programs

Our nation is committed to providing educational opportunity for all Americans–regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstances. To support this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and 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. While financial aid helps students to overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Who is Served

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes less than $30,975, where neither parent graduated from college. More than 2,700 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 866,000 low-income Americans. TRIO students are:

  • 37% White
  • 35% African-American
  • 19% Hispanic
  • 4% Native Americans
  • 4% Asian Americans
  • 1% Other

How it Works

More than 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants.

Evidence of Achievement

Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.

Student Support Services

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