- Written by ealmaguer
- Published: 26 Apr 2018
The Washington State TRIO Association WSTA is a group of TRIO professionals who provide a venue to support the success of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to obtain a quality education. WSTA helps these underrepresented populations by promoting program development, disseminating best practices/high impact educational practices and collecting data on the students’ specific educational needs to assist our first-generation, low-income populations better. WSTA provides support services and opportunities not normally accessible to these students to help them reach their full potential and develop into professional individuals. In order to best serve low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students and improve the changing needs of these populations, WSTA sponsors professional conferences, meetings, training, mentoring and other educational forums for its members throughout the calendar year. WSTA understands the contribution that low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students provide to our nation and believes in supporting these individuals as they pursue their higher education degree. Vision Every TRIO student and program in Washington State has the resources and tools needed to achieve their full potential. Mission To be a catalyst in Washington State for progressive initiatives that promote educational equity, access, and opportunity for traditionally marginalized student populations. History of the Federal TRIO Programs 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 Post Baccalaureate 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, Subpart 2 [ MS Word (217K) | PDF (188K)]. The requirements for the SSS Grant Aid can be found in Public Law 106-554. What is TRIO? Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance. In support of this commitment, through the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress established a series of programs called TRIO to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from low-income backgrounds where neither parent graduated from college. The Higher Education Act of 2008 broadened the definition of who is eligible for TRIO services to include: homeless youth, those in foster care, English as a Second Language learners, students with disabilities, and other disconnected students. More than 2,800 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly one million low-income Americans. The current administration has committed to have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020. Part of that effort includes offering additional financial aid through programs like the Pell Grant. While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs provide the mentoring/advising support needed to help students overcome academic, class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. TRIO services ensure that educational opportunity and the American Dream remain available for all students in an increasingly competitive global economy and world. TRIO in Washington State Currently, there are 59 TRIO programs funded in Washington State, bringing in over $17 million in federal funding, serving 15,000+ students per year. As well, the state of Washington has expanded TRIO like services on additional campuses through the WaTEP Program. Purpose of TRIO Programs The primary purpose of the TRIO programs is to prepare disadvantaged persons for successful entry into, retention in, and completion of post-secondary education. In general, these programs identify low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities and provide them with assistance, support and encouragement necessary to complete a post-secondary education.