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TRiO Day 2011

Today is TRiO Day 2011 at the Oklahoma State Capitol, the one day of the year that thousands of TRiO personnel, current participants and alumni converge on the House and Senate floors to declare their position and influence on Oklahoma’s higher education system.

TRiO is educational opportunity for low-Income, first generation and disabled Americans, and the Department of Education has made a commitment to further educate American youth regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status. In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income students enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. These programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (initially just three programs). While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes under $24,000, where neither parent graduated from college. Over 2,700 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 873,000 low-income Americans.

In Oklahoma, there are 25 Upward Bound, 17 Educational Talent Search, 7 Upward Bound Math/Science, 3 Veterans Upward Bound, 5 Educational Opportunity Centers, 20 Student Support Services, and 4 Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Programs. This totals 81 TRiO projects housed at 27 higher-ed institutions and 4 community agencies. These projects serve 27,323 participants.

That is a huge chunk of students in Oklahoma, and I know we are making a huge impact. TRiO works. Our alumni have went on to achieve amazing things. I appreciate all that the TRiO personnel do, and I am proud of my students, both past and present…I look forward to seeing what great things happen in your life.

Ryan Eller


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