National TRiO Day, What is it? National TRiO Day, What is it?

Photo from l-r: Jhonny Denis, Jacqous Hayes, Jamal Lawson and Ofne­l LaFrance celebrating local graduation

According to the 1986 Congressional resolution, National TRiO Day is meant to focus the nation’s “attention on the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives, to the necessary investment if they are to become contributing citizens of the country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made.”

TRiO Day has been proclaimed a National Day of Service. We encourage programs to perform some sort of community service-as a way for TRiO to give back to their community and say thank you for its support.

Every year, TRiO Day is the last Saturday of February. This year (2012) TRiO Day will be held on February 25th.

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. More than 840,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities — from sixth grade through college graduation — are served by more than 2,900 programs nationally. 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, and relevant training for directors and staff.

The TRiO programs were originally established by the federal government in 1965 to ensure equal educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. In many communities, the TRiO programs are some of the only programs available that help students to overcome the class, social, academic and cultural barriers to higher education.

Where did TRiO programs 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. (Previously only college financing had been on policymakers’ radar.) 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. 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.

For more TRiO information contact: Dr. Fernaundra Ferguson, Assistant Dean of Student Success Programs, University of West Florida, 11000 University Pkwy. Pensacola, FL 850.474.3212

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