Grand Valley State University's Federal TRIO Programs

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals with varying needs. TRIO includes many different programs targeted to serve and assist student access and successful completion at a post-secondary institution. Students in TRIO programs can progress through the academic pipeline starting in middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO students include those that are first in their families to go to college, have a limited income, or have a disability. These programs are funded by the US Department of Education. GVSU TRIO staff serve approximately 2,400 first-generation and/or low-income participants. 


Below are the current programs at Grand Valley State University.

Pre-College Programs

Assisting middle school students, high school students, or returning adults in preparing for college entrance. These programs support in the exploration, admissions, and acceptance to, the college or university of their choice. Click on the blue button in order to visit the program website for more information!

Educational Talent Search (ETS)

Educational Talent Search (ETS), a part of Grand Valley State University's College of Education and Community Innovation, identifies and assists underrepresented individuals who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Educational Talent Search provides academic and career counseling; tutoring and financial literacy referrals; and encourages participants to graduate from high school and continue on to a post-secondary institution of their choice. Educational Talent Search also serves adults interested in returning to school by encouraging them to reenter the education system and complete a post-secondary degree. The ultimate goal of ETS is to increase the representation of youths from underrepresented backgrounds in post-secondary educational institutions around the United States. ETS serves citizens between the ages of 11-27 that have finished the 5th grade. ETS is funded to serve 719 participants. 

Upward Bound (UB) -- Grand Rapids

The Upward Bound Program (UB) is a federally funded program that provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their high school performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. UB serves high school students from low-income families and who are first generation college students. The goal of UB is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of post-secondary education. Grand Valley State University has received continual funding for the TRIO UB Program since 1978. Once accepted into the GVSU UB program, students participate until their high school graduation. All services are provided at no cost to students. The Upward Bound program is currently funded to serve 100 students within the Grand Rapids Public School District in Grand Rapids, Michigan. These students attend Union High School and Innovation Central High School. Upward Bound participants are in 9th-12th grade or between the ages of 13-19. UB is funded to serve 100 participants. 

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB)

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) seeks to increase opportunity and access for veterans pursuing postsecondary education by introducing them to resources related to college and career readiness. Eligibility requirements are 180 days of active duty service, any discharge above dishonorable, residency in Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, or Ottawa County, and that they have not obtained a Bachelor’s degree. It does not require enrollment at any college or university. VUB is funded to serve 125 participants.

Laker Educational Opportunity Center (LEOC)

The Laker Educational Opportunity Center (LEOC) connects adults with educational opportunities. They provide guidance for re-entry into postsecondary education, alternative education, and GEDs, financial aid assistance, financial literacy, peer mentoring and college application assistance. The LEOC serves residents of Kent or Muskegon county that are 19+, first generational, low-income, U.S. citizens. LEOC is funded to serve 850 participants. 

College Programs

College TRIO programs help students to successfully persist in college and obtain a degree. Programs include support for students pursuing undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Click on the blue button in order to visit each college programs' website.

Student Support Services ( SSS Classic)

The Student Support Services (SSS Classic) is a federally funded, comprehensive support program for first-generation and limited-income college students. The goal of the program is to offer every possible form of support for participants along their journey to graduation from Grand Valley State University. Through the program, participants are assigned an advisor and have access to peer mentors who can help them achieve success while in college. SSS classic provide a number of services including: academic advising, scheduling assistance, study skills assistance, time management assistance, secondary admission assistance, financial aid counseling, career counseling, graduate school counseling, personal counseling and study abroad advising. Funded to support 215 participants. 

Teacher Preparation Student Support Services (TPSSS)

The Teacher Preparation Student Support Services program (TPSSS) is a federally funded grant program that promotes the success, retention, and graduation of future teachers from GVSU. TPSSS works with teaching majors who are first-generation, income-eligible students or students with disabilities to help them work toward graduation by offering them individualized services based on personalized needs as much as possible. Their mission is to promote learning, personal development, and retention for undergraduate students who are interested in or pursuing a K-12 teaching degree and who are traditionally underrepresented in, or under-prepared for postsecondary education because of income, family educational background, or disability. Funded to support 140 participants.

Student Support Services STEM--Health Sciences (TRIO STEM)

The goal of the Student Support Services STEM-Health Sciences (TRIO STEM) program is to increase rates of academic achievement, retention, and graduation among historically underrepresented students interested in the STEM-Health Science majors by providing holistic and individualized support services that maximize students’ innate abilities, draw upon available resources within and outside of the university, and benefit students, families, and the larger community. Funded to support 120 participants. 

Apply Now for the TRIO SSS Programs!

If you are a first-generation college student and want to apply to be a part of any of the three Student Support Services (SSS) programs, please click here to apply:

TRIO SSS Programs Application

Applications will begin processing after May 3rd. Please note that notifications may not be sent out until June. 


Post-Baccalaureate Program

The McNair program is the only TRIO program of it's kind: A support system for underrepresented and/or first-generation and low-income students who are interested in pursuing a PhD. 

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars)

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program’s (McNair Scholars Program) goal is to increase the number of underrepresented and/or first-generation and limited-income students in Ph.D. programs and careers across the country. Scholars participate in a 15- month program that includes academic and career counseling, tutoring, GRE preparation, graduate school application preparation, and academic writing preparation. The program also includes a research stipend of up to $4,000 and subsidized housing during the 12-week intensive summer research portion of the program. Scholars will also have access to funding for conference travel and graduate school visits, among other benefits. The Ronald E. McNair Program has been on Grand Valley State University’s campus since 1995. Funded to support 34 participants

FIrst Gen Forward Institution

First-gen Forward is the nation's first recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success. There are currently 268 designated First-gen Forward Institutions. Collectively, they represent a community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the United States. 


In order to be eligible, a program must: 

  • Be an active, accredited, two-year or four-year institution of higher education located within the United States
  • Be a NASPA institutional member
  • Secure senior leadership support and commitment to participation
  • Designate a minimum of two currently employed faculty and/or staff to serve as the institutional representatives
  • Commit to fulfilling the requirements


For more on TRIO check out:

Page last modified February 26, 2024