About Trio

Grand Valley State University TRiO Programs (Upward BoundEducational Talent SearchEducational Support Program and McNair) advocate, encourage, and provide educational opportunities, academic support and enrichment activities for students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education because of family educational background and/or income. The GVSU TRiO Programs contribute to the enrichment of society by ensuring its students have equal access, opportunity and resources in preparation for, entry to, and completion of a postsecondary education.

Upward Bound Students 2005


TRiO is actually not an acronym; in the 1960s, the term was coined to describe the three programs–Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services–that came together under the Higher Education Act and Amendments.  Since then several more have been added, for a total of seven outreach programs. Here are the Department of Education's program descriptions:

McNair Postbaccalaureate Program

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program prepares participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Participants are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have demonstrated strong academic potential. 

Talent Search

This program identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to the postsecondary institution of their choice.

Educational Opportunity Centers

The Educational Opportunity Centers program provides counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound (and Veterans' Upward Bound) provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance, with opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Upward Bound Students 2005

Student Support Services

The program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and help students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next.


About 2,600 TRiO programs can be found in over 1,200 colleges and universities nationwide, serving nearly 900,000 thousand students.  For more information about TRiO, please check out the Council for Opportunity in Education or TRiO at the Department of Education.


Congress has mandated who should be served by these programs; in McNair, two-thirds of our students are low-income and first generation college students and one-third are from traditionally underrepresented groups.  As such, 37% of all TRiO students are White, 35% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 4% are Native American, 4% are Asian American, and 1% are listed as “Other” (which includes multiracial students).