About TRIO

The TRIO programs are an educational opportunity for income-eligible and first-generation Americans. These programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. TRIO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The TRIO programs were originally established by the federal government in 1965 under the Higher Education Act to ensure equal educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstances. Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in American’s economic and social life. TRIO has evolved over the years and now consists of Educational Opportunity Centers, Student Support Services, Talent Search, Upward Bound, 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. 


TRIO at Iowa State University

The TRIO programs at Iowa State University include four outreach and support programs targeted to help disadvantaged students progress from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. Iowa State University’s TRIO programs include Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, Student Support Services, Talent Search, and Upward Bound.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program prepares undergraduates for entry to graduate school, with the primary goal of increasing the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

The Student Support Services program provides opportunities for academic development; assists students with basic college requirements; and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their post-secondary education.

The Talent Search program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue to a post-secondary school of their choice. 

The Upward Bound program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in higher education pursuits.