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TRIO History

History of the Federal TRIO Programs

The history of TRIO is progressive. Upward Bound (UB), the first of the TRIO programs, began as a pilot project authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to encourage low-income youths to complete high school and prepare for college. A year later, Talent Search (TS) was created as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to assist students applying for newly authorized federal financial aid for postsecondary education.

The TRIO name itself was born four years later when the Higher Education Act of 1965 was amended in 1968 to include the Special Services for Disadvantaged Students program—what is now called Student Support Services (SSS). Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services formed a trio of federal programs designed to foster increased educational opportunity and attainment. Upward Bound and Talent Search focused on college preparation and admission, while Student Support Services helped eligible students stay in college until they earned a college degree.

“Here the seeds were planted from which grew my firm conviction that for the individual, education is the path to achievement and fulfillment; for the nation, it is a path to a society that is not only free but civilized; and for the world, it is the path to peace — for it is education that places reason over force.”

– President Lyndon B. Johnson

Remarks at Southwest Texas State College upon signing the Higher Education Act of 1965, Nov. 8, 1965.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964. [LBJ Library photo #c661-4-WH64 by Cecil Stoughton]

Last updated: 3/19/2022