Our History

Northeastern Illinois University received three TRIO SSS grant awards in 2010, TRIO SSS Achieve (serving first-generation, income-eligible students from all academic majors); TRIO SSS Access (serving students with documented disabilities); and TRIO SSS Teacher Prep (serving first-generation, income-eligible students who plan to become teachers). Since inception, we have grown and currently are serving 380 NEIU students. We received new funding for the SSS grants in 2015, and most recently in 2020. SSS grants are five-year grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal TRIO programs were created in response to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase the post-secondary access, retention, and completion rates for first generation, income-eligible students, and students with disabilities.

The first program created was Upward Bound (1964), second was Talent Search (1965), and third was Student Support Services (1968). The term TRIO was coined in the late 60s to describe these three federal programs.

Since then, a few more have been added: Educational Opportunity Center (1972), Ronald E. McNair Baccalaureate Achievement Program (1986), Upward Bound Math/Science Program (1990).

Over 790,000 income-eligible, first-generation students and students with disabilities—from sixth grade through college graduation—are served by more than 2,800 programs nationally. TRIO SSS programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access, retention, and success.

Our Mission

Our mission is to help motivated students earn a college degree. TRIO SSS programs employ early intervention and communication with students and outreach to faculty and staff to provide needed academic supports.

TRIO SSS programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Education and are designed to provide services for individuals from underserved backgrounds. Target populations include income-eligible, first-generation college students, and students with documented disabilities.

TRIO SSS PROGRAMS achieve THEIR mission by:

  • using a holistic approach to academic advising;
  • providing resources to assist students to turn challenges into achievements;
  • supporting pathways from undergraduate to graduate school enrollment;
  • and identifying networking and leadership opportunities for TRIO SSS participants.

Our Values

  • Ensuring students’ academic achievement leading to college graduation
  • Supporting and valuing individual difference and excellence
  • Expanding cultural and global awareness
  • Advocating on behalf of students on issues relating to access and success