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.