What is TRIO? TRIO is a set of federally-funded programs that provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with the support they need to graduate with a college degree.

TRIO team at the state senate

Since 1965 TRIO programs have helped low-income and first-generation students access higher education and complete a college degree. Through TRIO, students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education and are empowered to achieve personal and academic success.

The TRIO Programs at San Juan College include:

  • Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) — Targets displaced or unemployed workers from low-income families. EOC assists anyone over the age of 18 years or older (new, returning, or transfer students) and even high school seniors; helping students achieve their high school equivalency or pursue post-secondary education, guiding them through the often-confusing admissions and financial aid processes. The EOC is funded to serve 850 participants.
  • Student Support Services (SSS) and Student Support Services-STEM — Helps low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities to successfully begin and stay in college. The SSS at San Juan College assists currently enrolled SJC students who have a 2.0 GPA or higher and can serve 160 participants. The SSS-STEM is funded to serve 120 participants.
  • Upward Bound — Intensive intervention program that prepares high school students for higher education through various enrichment courses, mentoring, and additional student support services to prepare students to be successful in college. Upward Bound at San Juan College serves 60 participants at Bloomfield High School.
    As advocates for their students and the TRIO programs at SJC, Tanisha Sam, director of the Educational Opportunity Center, Yolanda Benally, director of the TRIO Center and myself, former director of the Upward Bound program, attended the Council for Opportunity in Education Policy Seminar in Washington D.C. 

TRIO members were given the opportunity for congressional visits at Capitol Hill as a chance to represent the interests of low-income and first-generation students and veterans, adult learners and students with disabilities in the policy arena. The San Juan College directors were joined by other New Mexico TRIO programs and accompanied by two amazing high school seniors, who shared their own stories of how the Clovis Upward Bound program impacted their lives.

Within the legislative conference of the policy seminar, attendees received training in working with their government relations professionals, organizing at a grassroots level, and heard from the Council for Opportunity in Education and congressional staff experts. Key officials from the U.S. Department of Education addressed TRIO professionals to provide insight on higher education in the Biden Administration’s FY24 budget proposal.

TRIO’s goal at the legislative conference was to ask the members of Congress to support a funding increase of $107 million for all of the TRIO programs. This additional funding will help us move toward the goal of serving one million students in 2024 as part of the “March Towards One Million.” Currently, in the state of New Mexico, 10,133 students participate in a TRIO program.

Throughout our sessions and conversations, over 300 participants explored the various places and spaces where the work of TRIO overlaps with the priorities of other stakeholders. They also provided the venue for us to amplify our work; sharing demonstrated expertise in college access and success.

For more information on the TRIO programs at San Juan College, visit www.sanjuancollege.edu/trio.