TRIO Achievement Program celebrates 50th Anniversary at Luther College
DECORAH, IOWA—For 50 years, the TRIO Achievement Program has helped students at Luther College navigate higher education. Not only does the federally funded program help first-generation and income-eligible students access financial aid and career advice, it also provides a strong support system on campus to guide students through their college careers and launch them into the next stages of their lives.
“TRIO is an integral part of the student experience. Luther has always been an institution of connection and relationships; TRIO is a part of Luther’s legacy throughout each graduating class,” said Heidi Ludeking, student achievement and instructional specialist at Luther. “Thousands of students have been impacted by the supportive relationships that were forged through their college journey through the program.”
TRIO arose from the American Civil Rights Movement, and refers to the three federal programs — Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services — established in the Higher Education Act of 1965. These programs ensured equal educational opportunity for all students, and were eventually combined into one initiative as a “trio.”
The TRIO initiative began at Luther in 1973. For half of a century, the program has provided coaching for academic, personal, financial and career decisions to Luther students. Currently, TRIO at Luther offers Student Support Services (SSS) to 165 students each year.
In order to qualify for the TRIO program, students must be a first-generation college student, be income eligible or have a documented disability. Students can apply online.
TRIO also provides financial assistance through lending programs, grants and scholarships that help participants save money and reduce debt. Each year, the program at Luther awards 11 participants a scholarship that’s funded by donors with Luther connections.
“TRIO has helped me take advantage of so many opportunities at Luther,” said Samuel Scott, a senior majoring in business management. “There are so many events and meetings to help you navigate things like financial aid and careers.”
Whether the program was helping students of the 1980s impacted by the farm crisis or assisting current students navigating financial assistance programs to reduce debt, TRIO has remained committed to helping Luther students succeed.
“TRIO’s advisors are very supportive,” said Rose Baldus, a junior theater major with a minor in counseling. “They’re easy to talk to if you need academic or even emotional support. TRIO’s a great resource that’s helped me through college.”
About Luther College
At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Luther’s academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.