TRIO Achievement Program
The TRIO Achievement Program is a federally-funded program that helps first-generation and income-eligible students thrive at Luther College. TRIO guides and encourages participants throughout their journey. It empowers you to become ever-learning and ever-growing. It helps you to optimize your college experience while mitigating obstacles and celebrating successes along the way.
As a Luther College TRIO participant, you:
- Have access to a credit course that serves as the foundation for your learning and development over the next four years
- Are assigned a TRIO advisor and receive ongoing academic, personal, career and financial coaching
- Build important skills and relationships that promote your belonging, engagement, excellence and persistence
- Save money and reduce debt through lending programs, TRIO grants and scholarships
The Luther College TRIO Achievement Program assists participants in overcoming social, cultural, financial, personal, academic and other challenges. This allows them to fully participate in the life of the college and ultimately achieve the goal of graduation. Besides supporting students directly, the TRIO team works to increase awareness of socioeconomic class issues and barriers at Luther. The goal is to impact policies and frame institutional values, activities, and decisions that foster an environment in which TRIO-eligible students can thrive.
TRIO Achievement Program participants must be Luther College students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents eligible for federal financial aid. They must also meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Low income level as determined by federal guidelines for family unit size
- First-generation college student (neither parent has a bachelor’s degree)
- Have a documented disability
The Luther College TRIO Achievement Program is currently funded to serve 165 students. Federal regulations require that at least 2/3 of the participants be both first generation and low income or have a documented disability.
All qualified students admitted to Luther must first apply before being considered for the TRIO program. To apply, complete the TRIO Achievement Program Application and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRIO offers many benefits. Perhaps most importantly, you will have someone in your corner who you can trust and confide in whose job is to help you grow and succeed. You’ll also find a strong community of like-minded peers and a place you can call home.
Financial benefits include a textbook lending library, financial counseling, and TRIO gift aid. Academic benefits include professional tutoring and a helpful course only open to new TRIO students. Personal and professional enrichment benefits include career exploration activities, alumni panels, graduate school trips, and social events throughout the year. Check out What TRIO Can Do For You (PDF)!
All services and activities are free to participating students. In fact, TRIO students can benefit financially in numerous ways.
The program is funded to serve 165 participants annually.
Yes. Participants must meet minimum expectations in order to benefit from the program and to remain involved.
History of TRIO at Luther College
Luther’s TRIO/SSS program began in 1973, but the origins of the program date back to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.
The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created 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.
In subsequent years and reauthorizations of the Higher Education Act, several other programs were added (Upward Bound Math-Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and others), but like the programs, the name TRIO has stood the test of time.
TRIO programs are dependent on federal funding and are therefore subject to changing political agendas and administrations. Having garnered bi-partisan support over the years, TRIO programs have fought and won difficult funding battles to remain a vital force in the efforts to gain greater access to educational opportunity for under-represented and marginalized populations.
For a more detailed historical account of TRIO and descriptions of each program and the services they provide, see the Council for Opportunity in Education website.
For additional information, especially about the rules and regulations of TRIO programs, see the Department of Education website.