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History and Current Federal Support
The history of TRiO is progressive. The TRiO Programs were established to ensure equal educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. It began with Upward Bound, authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. In 1965, Educational Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, the term TRIO was coined when the Higher Education Amendments authorized Student Support Services. Also in 1968, Upward Bound was transferred out of the Office of Economic Opportunity and into the Department of Education.
Over the years, TRiO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services to reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendment of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRiO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers. The reauthorization of 1980 was particularly important for the adoption of two key concepts for the TRIO Programs; first-generation in college and prior performance. First generation in college is important in defining the eligibility of students, because it moved the programs in a more inclusive direction in looking at the origin and the impact of non-financial barriers to access and success in post-secondary education. Prior performance is an even more important core concept of TRiO, both philosophically and politically. Philosophically, prior performance encompasses the point of view that the TRiO Programs are an integral part of student aid that ideally, everywhere that student financial aid exists, so also should the full range of TRiO programs and services exist. Politically, prior performance facilitated the development of an extensive cadre of experienced TRiO professionals.
Amendments in 1986, created the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achieve-ment Program, which is named after Challenger astronaut and South Carolina native, Ronald E. McNair. Additionally, in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math-Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Upward Bound Math-Science program is administered under the same regulations as the regular Upward Bound program, but it must be applied for separately. And finally, the 2001 appropriations act amended the Student Support Services (SSS) program to permit the use of program funds for direct financial assistance (grant aid) for current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.
Students enrolled in today's TRiO Programs mirror our nation's multiethnic society. Thirty-seven percent of TRiO students are white, 35% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 4% are Native American and 4% are Asian-American. Twenty-two thousand TRiO students are disabled and 25,000 U.S. veterans are currently enrolled in the TRiO Programs as well. These programs have proven to be decisive factor in the successful completion of a higher education for those in most need. In fact, since 1965, an estimated 2.2 million students have graduated from college with the special assistance and support of our nation's TRiO Programs.
Programs at a Glance
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 people from families with incomes under $24,000 (where neither parent graduated from college) to better understand their educational opportunities and options. Over 386,000 Americans are enrolled in 471 Talent Search TRIO programs.
Upward Bound helps young students to 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, 774 programs are in operation throughout the United States.
Upward Bound Math/Science
Upward Bound Math Science helps students from low-income families to strengthen math and science skills. In addition, students learn computer technology as well as English, foreign language and study skills. Over 130 programs are serving students throughout the country.
Veterans Upward Bound
Veterans Upward Bound programs provide intensive basic skills development and short-term remedial courses for military veterans to help them successfully transition to post-secondary 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.
Student Support Services
Student Support Services helps low-income 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 930 colleges and universities nationwide.
Educational Opportunity Centers
Educational Opportunity Centers located throughout the country primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers from families with incomes under $24,000. These Centers help people to choose a college and suitable financial aid program. There are 138 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving 210,000 individuals
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievements
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievements programs are designed to encourage low-income students 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. This program was named in honor of the astronaut that died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion. Currently there are 179 programs, serving 4,100 students.