Education and Human Development

TRIO overview

TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that support students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.  TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention.

Grounded in the civil rights movement, UMN TRIO programs in the CEHD strive to ensure equal opportunity and equitable access to higher education along the educational continuum for underrepresented students, specifically those who are low income, first generation, and have disabilities. We promote retention and graduation through advising, academic support, mentoring, and advocacy, thereby cultivating a space for collegiate success and local and global community engagement.

Minnesota TRIO is the professional association for personnel affiliated with TRIO programs throughout the state of Minnesota. MN TRIO is one of eight state chapters which form the Mid-American Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP).

The Council for Opportunity in Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the United States. The council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies that host TRIO programs to specifically help low-income and disabled Americans enter college and graduate.

The following three TRIO programs are jointly funded by the College of Education and Human Development and the U.S. Department of Education.

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About our program

TRIO student support services (SSS)

TRIO Student Support Services, part of the President's Emerging Scholars program, selects 150 new freshmen each fall to participate in a multidimensional program that provides a variety of comprehensive and supplemental academic and educational support. TRIO SSS provides advising, financial aid counseling, personal support, and help with academic planning, major, and career exploration for low- to moderate-income, first-generation, and special-needs students. The program includes College English Transitions, a first-year sequence of courses offered to freshmen for whom English is not their first language.

TRIO Ronald E. McNair program

The TRIO Ronald E. McNair Program prepares underrepresented, low-income, first-generation college students for graduate study. Services to program participants include academic counseling, tutoring, test preparation for the Graduate Record Exam, paid research internships, mentoring, advocacy, and help in applying to graduate schools, and seminars to help prepare for graduate study.

Applications are available in 40 Education Sciences Building, or call 612-625-0772.

TRIO upward bound

TRIO Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for low-income and educationally disadvantaged high school students designed to help generate the skills they need to succeed in postsecondary education. Upward Bound provides comprehensive and intensive support including tutoring and academic skill development for college-bound students.

TRIO program history

Learn about the foundation of the TRIO program, and how it has evolved since.

TRIO College English Transitions program

The College English Transitions (CET) program is a first-year sequence of courses offered to freshmen for whom English is not their first language. Students work on academic English while taking courses typical of a freshman student including speech, biology, composition, literature, etc.

The program builds support in the way of integrated learning courses, small class size, writing support, special advising, and an instructional staff with expertise in teaching English as second language learners.

The College English Transitions program is part of TRIO Student Support Services. For more information, contact the TRIO staff at 612-625-0772 or

Student support services


    TRIO SSS advisors have smaller student caseloads, so when problems and questions arise, you can usually see your advisor within 48 hours. You are encouraged and supported in developing leadership skills and engaging in campus and community activities as well as learning abroad opportunities.

    Majors outside of CEHD

    You will work with an advisor on developing a plan that will prepare you for your major, whether it’s in CEHD or another University college. Students usually apply to their major in the second year of college.


    Course options for TRIO SSS students are similar to those for all first-year students in the College of Education and Human Development. All first-year students participate in the First Year Experience program which includes a First Year Inquiry course during fall semester and a Learning Community in spring semester. Additionally, TRIO SSS students are expected to register for at least one two-credit Integrated Learning (IL) course in their first year. IL courses are small 18- to 25-student recitation or discussion classes that help students succeed in challenging courses such as biology and psychology.

    You may also choose from other courses such as biology, psychology, sociology, math, and literature. If you enroll in biology or psychology, you may take supplemental Integrated Learning courses with other TRIO SSS students.

    What's the advantage to taking these supplementary classes? Students who enroll in TRIO SSS IL classes earn better grades than other University students enrolled in the same classes without the IL component. Classes help you develop effective study skills and habits. IL instructors reinforce concepts that are introduced in lectures with cooperative group problem-solving exercises, presentations, and recitation.

    CET students will take a two-semester sequence of freshman composition, WRIT 1201 and 1301, taught by experienced and accomplished instructors of multilingual students. Additionally, they will take an editing for writers course and an oral communication course. The CET academic experience is enhanced through small class sizes and tutors in writing classes.


    You will register for classes during your required University orientation session the summer prior to your first term at the University.  Advisors will help you register for courses that are appropriate for your individual needs and goals.


    Grounded in the civil rights movement, TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) strives to ensure access and equal opportunity education for University of Minnesota students who are first-generation in college, low-income, students with disabilities, or students for whom English is not their first language. Through inclusive and accessible services, including academic support, counseling, teaching, and advocacy, the TRIO SSS program seeks to remove institutional and cultural barriers, foster a climate that values the social and cultural capital of our students, and promote retention to graduation.

    All students in TRIO SSS will have the opportunity to participate in the President's Emerging Scholars program. Through this program, students are eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship during their first year and again in their fourth year if students are on track to graduate and have participated in the program. Most required first-year components of the President's Emerging scholars Program align directly with TRIO SSS program requirements.

    TRIO SSS includes College English Transitions, a first-year sequences of courses offered to freshmen for whom English is not their first language.