History of TRIO

The history of TRiO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960’s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these federal programs.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRIO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers. The 1976 Education Amendments authorized the Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs, initially known as the Training Program for Special Programs Staff and Leadership Personnel. Amendments in 1986 added the sixth program, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. Additionally, in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math/Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Upward Bound Math/Science program is administered under the same regulations as the regular Upward Bound program, but it must be applied for separately. Finally, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 amended the Student Support Services (SSS) program to permit the use of program funds for direct financial assistance (Grant Aid) for current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.

The legislative requirements for all Federal TRIO Programs can be found in the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A.  The requirements for the SSS Grant Aid can be found in Public Law 106-554.

TRIO Programs & the Department of Education

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.

The recipients of the grants, depending on the specific program, are institutions of higher education, public and private agencies and organizations including community-based organizations with experience in serving disadvantaged youth and secondary schools. Combinations of such institutions, agencies, and organizations may also apply for grants. These entities plan, develop and carry out the services for students. While individual students are served by these entities, they may not apply for grants under these programs. Additionally, in order to be served by one of these programs, a student must be eligible to receive services and be accepted into a funded project that serves the institution or school that student is attending or the area in which the student lives.

CenCal Chapter Origin and Highlights

“There was a drive within the collective identity of the TRiO family who hailed from the geographical middle of the Golden State that sparked the genesis of what would become Central Cal.  Today its members generate a vitality within their programs and for their students that speaks to the distinctiveness of their region and affirms Central Cal’s unique place within the WESTOP organization.” 

“In 1999,  certain TRiO program staff members, who would eventually have their own Central Cal identity, reasoned that due to the large geographical area that is California, our state’s TRiO organizations’ meetings tended to talk specifically (and not unexpectedly so) to northern or southern concerns and issues. The central valley and central coast concerns and issues were often neither north relevant nor south relevant: They were both and neither, and therefore central and unique. 

And so was born from this geopolitical dynamic the fledgling Central Cal, of the parent WESTOP TRiO Organization”.  – Dennis Adkins, FCC Counselor (retired)

  2003 – At WESTOP’s Annual Conference in Hawaii, the WESTOP membership voted to recognize the newly created Central California Chapter (CenCal). Previously, only two Chapters existed in California– those being the Northern California (NorCal) and Southern California (SoCal) Chapters.

  2005 – CenCal quickly created more WESTOP history when Jose Martinez-Saldana became the first WESTOP President from CenCal.

  2010– Martina Granados, CenCal Director at Fresno State, becomes the first CenCal Member to win the Steve Holeman Award to recognize her role as an outstanding director within WESTOP.

CenCal Throughout the Years