TRiO Overview

TRIO Student Support Services Name Plate

Dear Prospective SSS Student,

Welcome to the Mercer University Student Support Services (SSS) website! We are excited that you are seeking information that will aid in your journey towards completing your postsecondary education. TRIO Programs are federally funded grant programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education as a result of the Higher Education Act of 1965. There are seven TRIO Programs (Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate) that serve students. Each of the programs have the same overall mission: to help underrepresented and underserved students prepare, enroll and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. SSS offers students a variety of services, as you will discover on this site, to assist in your college matriculation. Currently, more than 90% of students served in the program persist from one academic year to the next and remain in good academic standing. We hope that you will strongly consider applying to Student Support Services and allow us the opportunity to assist you in obtaining your baccalaureate degree. Feel free to contact TRIO Programs/ Student Support Services if you have any questions about our program. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Tracy Artis, M.P.A.
Executive Director of Federal TRIO Programs

Picture of Director of program


TRIO Programs Overview

TRIO Programs consist of federally-funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. 790,000 low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities from sixth grade through college graduation are served by over 2,800 programs nationally. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. TRIO programs provide direct support services for students and relevant training for directors and staff. Over 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges, and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants.

History of TRIO

TRIO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968. Together, this "trio" of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students. By 1998, the TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs had grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math/Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

TRIO Programs on the Campus of Mercer University

Student Support Services (Opportunity Scholars)

(478) 301-2686

Student Support Services programs work to assist first-generation college students, income eligible students, and students with disabilities to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees. Participants receive tutoring, counseling and financial guidance and mentoring. Students are now being served at 947 colleges and universities nationwide. The Student Support Services Program is supported 100 percent by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Upward Bound

(478) 301-2099

Upward Bound helps youth prepare for higher education. Participants receive instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, and science on college campuses after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. Currently, 964 projects are in operation throughout the United States. The Upward Bound Program is supported 100 percent by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Educational Opportunity Centers

(478) 301- 2440

Educational Opportunity Centers located throughout the country primarily serve displaced or underemployed workers from families with incomes under $33,075. These Centers help people to choose a college and a suitable financial aid program. There are 124 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving 195,000 individuals. The Educational Opportunity Centers Program is supported 100 percent by a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Source content provided by: Council For Opportunity in Education (