DePaul’s two federally-funded TRIO programs—Student Support Services and McNair Scholars—illustrate and extend the university’s long-standing commitment to educational opportunity and attainment. Housed in the Center for Access and Attainment, they provide eligible students with the academic, personal and community support for degree attainment and entrance to careers and graduate school.
TRIO programs have their origins in the federal “War on Poverty” initiatives of the 1960s and 1970s. Their overall goal is to expand educational opportunity by providing a pathway from sixth grade to college graduation for students from low-income and first-generation college families. However, not all colleges and universities offer TRIO programs, which are awarded through a highly competitive grant process administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
TRIO at DePaul
Student Support Services (SSS) is designed to ensure successful degree completion for eligible students and was established at DePaul in 1997. Since that time, it has consistently posted graduation rates above those for the university as a whole. The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare eligible students for admission to PhD programs and eventual careers as college faculty. McNair was first funded at DePaul two years later in 1999. Graduation rates for McNair participants are close to 100 percent and more than 80 percent go on to graduate school.
We view the TRIO and Arnold Mitchem Fellows programs at DePaul as high-impact educational experiences. The programs are designed to help students make the most of their education at DePaul, whether through faculty and alumni mentoring or access to internships and study abroad opportunities. These are the sorts of experiences that not only enhance academic achievement but have the potential to change students’ lives.