TRIO History

The History of MVSU’s SSS Program and

Other Federal TRIO Programs

Student Support Services (SSS) which is one of the eight federally-funded programs known as TRIO Programs has been on the campus of Mississippi Valley State University since 1973. SSS currently serves 200 eligible students.  The TRIO programs are authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.  The purpose of all SSS programs is to:

  • Increase the retention and graduation rates of eligible undergraduate students
  • Foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of eligible undergraduate students

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. The Veterans Upward Bound program was created later under the same regular Upward Bound regulations.  It, too, 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. 

Thanks to federal TRIO Programs, many eligible students have been given educational opportunities to earn a valuable education on all grade and college levels.  To learn more about TRIO and its state, regional and national associations, please visit the following websites:

U.S. Department of TRIO Programs

State TRIO Association: Mississippi Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP)

Regional TRIO Association: Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP)

National TRIO Association: Council for Educational Opportunity (COE)