TRIO Student Support Services

TRIO students working on robot


“Being the first one in my family to attend college, I was a little scared I would not have the same guidance I had in high school from Upward Bound, which is why I decided to apply to be in TRIO [SSS] during Orientation.  The foundation they offered to first generation students is what had me sold.  Being a part of TRIO has helped me identify who I truly am and my potential while also giving me a safe space throughout my class day.  Here I can be open about personal things that bother me and know that I am not alone."

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), housed within the Center for Diversity and Enrichment at the University of Iowa, has a long-standing history of serving University of Iowa students. In fact, TRIO SSS is celebrating 40 years on campus in 2017. To be eligible for TRIO SSS services, students must demonstrate academic need and be first-generation, low-income, or have a verified disability. Students that partake in TRIO SSS benefit from individualized coaching that takes a holistic approach to student success including: academic advising, financial literacy advising, tutoring, graduate school preparation, career planning, leadership opportunities, and priority registration, among many other things.

The University of Iowa TRIO SSS program is funded to serve 350 students each academic year. Beginning in the fall of 2015, newly admitted TRIO SSS participants started enrolling in a one-credit course designed to ease their transition to the University of Iowa. Over the last year and a half, Steps to Success for TRIO has developed into a seven-semester course sequence designed to ensure that students make a successful transition to UI; develop the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to be successful during their college experience; and are ultimately prepared for life after graduation. 

Topics discussed throughout the course series include study skills, co-curricular involvement, diversity and inclusion, Gallup StrengthsQuest, financial literacy, career exploration, professional development, leadership development, and many more. Campus and local community partners play a vital role in content development, teaching, and the overall success of the courses.  Course partners in 2016–2017 included: 

  • Financial Literacy Services
  • Pomerantz Career Center
  • UI Libraries
  • International Programs
  • Academic Support and Retention
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Student Legal Services
  • Writing Center
  • Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honors organization)
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Iowa City Department of Human Rights

At the end of the 2015–16 academic year, TRIO students had a 91 percent persistence rate. Additionally, 96 percent of TRIO enrolled participants were listed in good academic standing. The success of TRIO programming is evidenced by the fact that TRIO students have a 71 percent six-year graduation rate. 

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TRIO Student Support Services celebrates 40 years on campus in 2017.
TRIO Upward Bound Program celebrated 50 years on campus in 2016.