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Broadening Access To Federal TRIO Programs

expanding federal trio programs

Executive Summary

The United States Department of Education unveiled a proposal on January 12, 2024, to expand access to the Federal TRIO Programs. This move represents a significant effort to make these critical programs more accessible to underrepresented students.


The Federal TRIO Programs, created by the Higher Education Act of 1965, are dedicated to helping those at an educational disadvantage. Strict citizenship and residency requirements currently limit the eligibility for these programs. The latest proposal aims to mitigate these constraints.

Current Eligibility Constraints

Under the existing rules (34 CFR 643.3, 644.3, and 645.3), only certain individuals, like U.S. citizens and permanent residents, can benefit from the TRIO programs, which has limited the programs' inclusivity.

Proposed Eligibility Enhancements

The recent proposal from the Department of Education introduces major changes to increase inclusivity in the TRIO programs:

  • Expanding Access For High School Students: The proposal allows high school students across the U.S. and its territories to participate regardless of their citizenship or residency status.
  • Modifications To Program Criteria:
    • Talent Search & Educational Opportunity Centers: Both programs will now cater to a broader audience of high school students.
    • Upward Bound: This program will now include more high school students.

Proposal's Impact

This proposal is a key advancement for the TRIO programs, with the potential to:

    • Overcome barriers based on citizenship and residency, reaching a more diverse student body.
    • Provide greater access to TRIO programs for all eligible students in their respective areas.
    • Expand the educational support network from middle school to postgraduate levels for a wider group of students.


The proposal by the Department of Education to expand the eligibility for the Federal TRIO Programs as of January 12, 2024, is a noteworthy effort towards fostering a more inclusive educational environment, ensuring that a greater number of students, irrespective of their background, have the opportunity to benefit from essential educational support.

Empowering Students: Innovative Educators' Role in Enhancing TRIO Programs

For nearly 20 years, Innovative Educators has assisted college leaders to build foundations of success for their students. Institutions have seen student engagement and retention increase as a result of utilizing Go2Orientation, OnlineLingo and StudentLingo to onboard new students. Grounded in best practices for online learning, Innovative Educators student support tools are engaging, interactive, and community-building. Go2Orientation, OnlineLingo and StudentLingo together create a powerful online resource center providing support to students throughout their academic journey.


United States Department of Education. "Issue Paper 6: Federal TRIO Programs." January 12, 2024. Accessed via chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ 


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Alex Pecoraro
Client Success & Solution Specialist

February 8, 2024


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