TRIO student support services awarded $1.2M federal grant

four students sitting around a table

Since 2011, TRIO has helped 85 UIC students earn their bachelor’s degrees.


UIC was awarded a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education for its TRIO Student Support Services Program.

TRIO is a set of federally funded outreach programs, from sixth grade through college graduation, for students from low-income families, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities.

TRIO helps motivate students to complete high school and enter college, then provides support for them through graduation with a bachelor’s degree.

“To know that students who are eligible to receive the services of the TRIO Student Support Services grant will have the opportunity to continue to receive support or to begin receiving support is extremely gratifying,” says UIC TRIO director Lillye Hart, assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs. The extension will begin when the current five-year funding cycle ends next year.

UIC will use the grant for academic tutoring, academic and personal advising, mentoring, financial guidance and other services to 160 students each year.

“The TRIO Student Support Services Program provides a supportive and caring atmosphere where the program participants can thrive in a diverse and distinguished educational environment as they pursue higher education and build pathways to successful careers,” Hart said. “The work of the TRIO Program is very much in line with the mission and goals of UIC.”

Last year, 17 TRIO students at UIC earned bachelor’s degrees, Hart said, bringing the total to 85 since 2011.

The TRIO programs, begun as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, were the first national college access and retention programs to address social and cultural barriers to education in America.

The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established a program known as Upward Bound. In 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. The third program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, later known as Student Support Services, launched in 1968. Currently, seven TRIO programs serve eligible students from middle school through college and graduate school.

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