TRIO Supportive Education Services TRIO SES and TRIO STEM are much more than programs, we are a community. Our dedicated and experienced staff provide a welcoming, supportive, and inspiring place for students who are navigating the challenging environment of the University. As part of KU’s Center for Educational Opportunity Programs, TRIO SES & STEM aim to increase the college retention and graduation rates of participants, and to help them make the transition from one level of higher education to the next. TRIO provides comprehensive, personalized support services to eligible students, helping them achieve academic success and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. We also support students at they prepare for graduate school and for success in a global environment.

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. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. TRIO programs provide direct support services for students.
Where did TRIO originate?
The TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. TRIO began as part of 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. The original three programs have since 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 does TRIO serve?
More than 2,800 TRIO programs currently serve close to 790,000 low-income Americans. Over 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges and agencies offer TRIO programs in the United States. Thirty-five percent of TRIO students are white, 35% are African American, 19% are Hispanic, 4% are Native American, 3% are Asian American, and 4% are listed as “other,” including multiracial students. More than 7,000 students with disabilities and approximately 6,000 U.S. veterans are currently enrolled in the TRIO programs as well.
Why are TRIO programs important?
In order to foster and maintain a healthy economy as well as compete globally, the United States needs a strong, highly educated and competent workforce. To be on par with other nations, the country needs students who, no matter their background, are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success.
Benefits of participating in the TRIO SES & STEM programs
Students who actively take advantage of our services, provided to them at no cost, enjoy benefits including but not limited to:
  • Increased retention and graduation rates
  • Setting and meeting personal and academic goals
  • A climate supportive of first generation, low-income students and/or individuals with disabilities
  • Centralized location (“home base”) for services and support
  • Social network of peers
  • Guidance from staff members who are motivated and passionate about student success!