Federal TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans’ Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) help students to overcome economic, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education.

TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other support necessary for educational access and retention. TRIO programs provide direct support services for students and relevant training for directors and staff. The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) works with colleges, universities, and agencies through our numerous membership services to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Over a million low-income students and students with disabilities nationwide each year receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.

TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS) serve students at the University of Iowa who demonstrate academic need and are first-generation, low-income, or have a verified disability. We create a welcoming environment that supports our students and inspires them to reach their fullest potential and be successful in all their academic and personal endeavors through graduation. We strive to develop all our students into life-long learners by building relationships with them and maintaining strong partnerships with campus and community resources.

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at the University of Iowa is a federal grant-funded program by the U.S. Department of Education that has been on campus since 1977.

We currently serve 350 full-time undergraduate students.

There are a few basic requirements to join TRIO SSS. You must be:

  • Enrolled as a full-time student at UI
  • U.S. citizen or eligible to receive federal financial aid


  • First-generation college student (neither parent nor guardian has received a baccalaureate degree), or
  • Income eligible according to the federal government or Have a verified disability.


  • Demonstrate academic need

How to Apply

TRIO SSS is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year.

What it means to be a TRIO SSS student

Success coaching with TRIO SSS is very holistic in nature and covers a variety of topics including academic skill-building, academic probation support, career planning, graduate/professional school preparation, FAFSA filing assistance, personal financial literacy and college financing options, health and well-being, leadership development, and TRIO course enrollment. As coaches, we are here to help. If students don’t know where to go with questions, TRIO SSS staff are the perfect place to start!  Participants meet with a TRIO SSS coach at least once per semester.

All TRIO SSS participants are expected to enroll in a one-semester hour course each semester called Steps to Success for TRIO.  The classes are taught by TRIO SSS staff and have smaller enrollment numbers (max. 20).  We focus on building community while addressing topics such as:

  • Academic skill-building
  • Career exploration and professional development
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Financial literacy and financial aid
  • Leadership
  • Life skills/issues

TRIO SSS offers individual and small group tutoring for a variety of courses at the University of Iowa. Students can request a tutor for as many courses as they would like each semester and, subject to availability, will be matched with a tutor. Once matched, students meet with their tutor for one hour per week per course. The courses offered are typically common introductory courses, such as chemistry, biology, math, Spanish, economics, and psychology (and many others). 

 Students can submit a tutor request form here.