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Maine Educational Opportunity Association

An organization of professional, associate, and program members working together for equitable access to educational opportunities.


What is TRIO?

TRIO is Educational Opportunity for Low-income and Disabled Americans

Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance.

In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help lowincome Americans 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.

Who is Served

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 1,900 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 700,000 low-income Americans between the ages of 11 and 27. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12. Thirty-nine percent of TRIO students are White, 36 percent are African-American, 16 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are Native American and 4 percent are Asian-American. Sixteen thousand TRIO students are disabled.

How it Works

Over 1,200 colleges, universities, community colleges and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants.

Evidence of Achievement

Students in TRIO programs are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree that those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO.

Nearly 20 percent of all Black and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs.

Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.

What is MEEOA?

MEEOA is an association of professionals working within educational opportunity programs, primarily TRIO and Gear Up programs. TRIO programs were initially established in 1965 through the Higher Education Act to help low-income & first generation college bound students enter and find success in higher education and to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to college, TRIO & Gear Up programs help students overcome class, social & cultural barriers to higher education.

MEEOA works on behalf of students who, because of socioeconomic status, disability, and/or restricted cultural/educational experiences, find themselves facing significant obstacles to obtaining a college education.

MEEOA’s primary activities involve:

  • Responding to issues affecting the educational resources and environment of low-income and first-generation college students

  • Promoting research, conferences, and professional development activities for personnel of educational opportunity programs;

  • Increasing the awareness of legislators, agencies, and community leaders about educational barriers and financial needs of low-income, first-generation, & disabled students through advocacy and public relation

  • Coordinating efforts among other organizations and people with similar concerns.

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