TRIO Programs

In support of the nation’s commitment to provide educational opportunity for all Americans, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income first-generation 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: Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Student Support Services). The number has expanded to include Educational Opportunity Centers, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, Upward Bound Math & Science, and Veterans Upward Bound.

While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO Programs help students overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education. The educational and human services offered through the TRIO Programs are distinguishable from all other counseling programs because TRIO Programs are:

  • One-on-one
  • Performance-based
  • Focused on early intervention
  • Built on relationships
  • Committed to tough cases
  • Comprehensive and cultural
  • Reality-based
  • Community-based

The state of North Carolina has 81 TRIO Programs serving approximately 25,000 North Carolinians. Forty-one of theses programs are dedicated to pre-college efforts such as Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Upward Bound Math & Science. Thirteen of the pre-college programs are operating on nine of the UNC constituent campuses. Collectively they serve over 3,400 middle and high school students and support them through high school graduation and college enrollment.  The pre-college programs prepare students for higher education by providing instruction in the core curriculum subjects including technology, disseminating college and financial aid information, and exposing students to college campuses, cultural events, and career opportunities.

With a history of over 40 years, the success of the TRIO Programs is evidenced by the fact that students in the Upward Bound program are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO; nearly 20 percent of all African-American  and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs; 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.