History and Purpose

Purpose

Program Office: Federal TRIO Programs
CFDA Number: 84.042A
Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants

The Student Support Services (SSS) program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements and serves to motivate students towards the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The SSS program may also provide grant aid to current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next.

Services provided by the program include:

  • Instruction in basic study skills
  • Tutorial services
  • Academic, financial or personal counseling
  • Assistance in securing admission and financial aid for enrollment in four-year institutions
  • Assistance in securing admission and financial aid for enrollment in graduate and professional programs
  • Information about career options
  • Mentoring
  • Special services for students with limited English proficiency
  • Direct financial assistance (grant aid) to current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.

History of the Federal TRIO Programs

The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960s, the term "TRIO" was coined to describe these federal programs.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRIO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers. The 1976 Education Amendments authorized the Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs, initially known as the Training Program for Special Programs Staff and Leadership Personnel. Amendments in 1986 added the sixth program, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. 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. The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 authorized the TRIO Dissemination Partnership program to encourage the replication of successful practices of TRIO programs. Finally, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 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.

The legislative requirements for all Federal TRIO Programs can be found in the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2. The requirements for the SSS Grant Aid can be found in Public Law 106-554.*

* Information taken directly from the TRiO programs history page maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. For more details or to view the original transcript simply click on TRiO .