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University of Nebraska-Lincoln
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We Serve

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Office of TRIO Programs serves eligible students from 6th through 12th grade in the Lincoln community, and eligible undergraduates from all majors and degrees at UNL.

What is TRIO?

TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.

At UNL, the Office of TRIO Programs, through its pre-college programs Educational Talent Search (ETS), Regular Upward Bound (RUB), and Upward Bound Math-Science (UBMS), engages students from Lincoln Public Schools. ETS targets students from 6th grade through 12th grade, while RUB and UBMS works with students in high schools from 9th through 12th grade.

The collegiate program, Student Support Services (SSS), works with eligible undergraduates from all majors and degrees at UNL. The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at UNL, designed to prepare undergraduates for doctoral studies, is administered through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Where did TRIO originate?

The TRIO programs, which were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America, began as a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.

The Economic 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, which later became Student Support Services, was launched in 1968. Together, this "trio" of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students.

By 1998, the TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs had grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math-Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

Who is served?

We primarily serve eligible students from select LPS middle and high schools, as well as UNL undergraduates from all majors and degrees.

These are the 6 middle schools that ETS serves in the Lincoln community: Culler, Dawes, Goodrich, Lefler, Mickle, and Park. ETS, RUB, and UBMS cater to students with distinct interests from these 3 LPS high schools: Lincoln High, North Star, and Northeast. SSS serves eligible UNL undergraduates. Cumulatively, between LPS and UNL, we cater to +1,398 students. To learn more about the eligibility criteria for each one of the component programs, please visit the Apply section from the main menu.

The Federal TRIO Programs in the US, through 2,800 projects, serves close to 790,000 Americans. This includes more than 22,000 students with disabilites and approximately 6,000 US veterans.

Why are TRIO programs important?

The United States needs to boost both its academic and economic competitiveness globally.

In order to foster and maintain a healthy economy as well as compete globally, the US needs a strong, highly-educated, and competent workforce. To be on par with other nations, the country needs students, no matter their background, who are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success. The growing achievement gap in our country is detrimental to our success as a nation. There is a tremendous gap in educational attainment between America's highest and lowest income students - despite similar talents and potential.

Low-income students are being left behind. Only 38% of low-income high school seniors go straight to college as compared to 81% of their peers in the highest income quartile. Then, once enrolled in college, low-income students earn bachelor's degrees at a rate that is less than half of that of their high-income peers - 21% as compared with 45%.

As the 2005 study "Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance" notes, there are numerous talented and worthy low-income students, yet relatively few are represented in higher education, particularly at America's more selective four-year colleges and universities. While nearly 67% of high-income, highly-qualified students enroll in four-year colleges, only 47% of low-income, highly-qualified students enroll. Even more startling, 77% of the least-qualified, high-income students go on to college, while roughly the same proportion of the most-qualified low-income students go on to college.

It is to address these social and economic malaise, programs such as TRIO are essential. You can learn about the impact our services have had on alumni, and have on students who are current participants from the Journal page of the respective programs.

Reference: Council for Opportunity in Education