Alabama's Public Liberal Arts University

ASPIRE/Student Support Services

About TRiO

What is TRiO?

Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance.  In support of this commitment, 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.

How Did TRiO Originate?

TRiO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. Previously, policymakers only considered the issue of financing a college education. TRiO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty .

Listen to a telephone conversation between President Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, 5 November, 1964, regarding the passing of legislation that created Upward Bound!


The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Educational Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, later known as Student Support Services, was launched in 1968.

Together, this “trio” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students. By 1998, the TRiO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs had grown to seven, adding Educational Opportunity Centers and Veterans Upward Bound in 1972, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math/Science in 1990.

TRiO programs, like Federal Pell Grants, are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.


For more information on TRiO programs click the following links:

Federal TRiO Programs

Federal TRiO Programs include: Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans' Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and Training Grants. The Federal TRiO Programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and to provide relevant training to directors and staff. TRiO includes five outreach and support programs targeted to serve and assist low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs and one training grant program for staff.

Council for Opportunity in Education

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the United States. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies that host TRiO Programs to specifically help low-income students enter college and graduate.

Alabama Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel

The Alabama Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (AAEOPP) is a non-profit organization designed to bring together into a work and study community those persons who have an active interest in or who are professionally involved in broadening accessibility to and success in formal postsecondary education.