In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help disadvantaged students enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. Student Support Services is funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and is a Trio Program.
While student financial aid programs are designed to help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, Trio Programs are designed to help students overcome environmental, social, cultural, and academic barriers to higher education. They provide information, counseling, academic instruction, tutoring, assistance in applying for financial aid, encouragement and support..
Trio Programs - Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services and Educational Opportunity Centers, provide the supportive services that students need to succeed in college. Trio Programs help almost 450,000 disadvantaged students each year at a cost of less than 220 million dollars annually. Two-thirds of Trio students come from families with incomes of less than $18,000 per year; most are academically under-prepared; and most must overcome tremendous class and social barriers in order to participate in higher education.
The majority of Trio students, 65% are members of minority groups; 41% are black, 17% are Hispanic, 4% are American Indian, and 3% are Asian. A substantial number of Trio students, 35%, are white. Fourteen thousand students are physically handicapped.
There are approximately 1,340 Trio Programs in operation nationwide at more than 850 public and private colleges and universities, and at 80 community agencies.