What is TRIO SSS?

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded program that seeks to enhance students' experience through academic skill building, goal attainment, leadership development, financial literacy, cultural enrichment, graduate school preparation, and fostering a supportive learning community. TRIO SSS is funded to serve a limited number of students. To be considered for the TRIO SSS program, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be a first-generation college student, meet federal income eligibility requirements, or have a documented disability with the Center for Educational Access (CEA). The program strives to retain and graduate students with their undergraduate degree by creating a model environment for student growth, retention, and diversity.

Participation in the TRIO SSS includes: 

  • Specialized academic advising from a dedicated advisor in your college 
  • Priority access to tutoring 
  • Academic and cultural enrichment activities 
  • Graduate/professional school preparation
  • Individualized career development opportunities
  • Personal finance and financial literacy education
  • Leadership and mentoring opportunities 
  • Access to a private study lounge, computer lab, and technology loans
  • Potential eligibility for additional Grant Aid Scholarships (for freshman and sophomores)

Why is it called TRIO SSS?

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. It began with Upward Bound, authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as a 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 1960s, the term TRIO was coined to describe these federal programs.

TRIO now includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. Other TRIO programs include: Educational Opportunity Centers, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement, Upward Bound Math-Science, and Veterans Upward Bound.

At the University of Arkansas, in addition to TRIO SSS, we have Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Veterans Upward Bound.

Common Questions: 

How is my TRIO SSS advisor different from my academic advisor?

Each academic college and program advising is unique. As a TRIO SSS student, you are assigned an SSS advisor that works with you from the time you enroll in the program through graduation. This advisor is in addition to other faculty advising that is made available through your academic program. You will also meet more frequently with your SSS advisor to ensure your continued success.

How can I be a part of TRIO SSS?

 To be considered students must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national/permanent resident, and/or be eligible for federal financial aid (such as Pell grant, work study, or subsidized or unsubsidized loans). All participants must also meet at least ONE of the following criteria:

  • First-Generation College Student - Biological or adoptive parent(s) did not graduate with a 4-year degree
  • Meet Federal Income eligibility requirements and/or
  • Have a documented disability on file with the Center for Educational Access

Who can I contact if I have questions? 

TRIO Student Support Services


TRIO SSS has moved to Arkansas Union 6th Floor West (602). Come see our space!

Applications for TRIO SSS are currently closed. Please check back in the coming weeks for opportunities in June and July to schedule and attend virtual TRIO SSS Information Sessions. If you need immediate assistance, please contact C.J. Mathis, Director of TRIO SSS, at