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TRIO Student Support Services


What is TRIO?

The Westminster College TRIO SSS program is a federally funded office committed to the success of first-generation scholars, scholars with financial needs, and scholars with disabilities. Through personalized coaching and mentorship, providing effective tools and supplemental materials to improve student knowledge and topic mastery, and cross-campus collaboration, TRIO strives to support historically underrepresented students with the tools needed to achieve success, both in college and as they move into the world.


Famous TRIO Alumni

Hector Balderas, Attorney General, New Mexico, Student Support Services, New Mexico Highlands University

Cardi B, Rapper, songwriter, Upward Bound

Franklin Chang-Diaz, First Hispanic Astronaut and Chairman and CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Student Support Services, University of Connecticut

Viola Davis, Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award-Winning Actress, Student Support Services and Upward Bound, Rhode Island College

Patrick Ewing, Olympian, NBA player, basketball coach, Upward Bound

A.C. Green, Former NBA Player, Student Support Services, Oregon State University

José M. Hernandez, Former Astronaut, NASA, Student Support Services, University of the Pacific

Gwendolynne Moore, U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin — 4th Congressional District (2005 to Present), Student Support Services, Marquette University

Harry Lee Williams, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Student Support Services, Appalachian State University

Oprah Winfrey, Talk show host, journalist, and author, Upward Bound


Services Offered

TRIO pairs each participant with an advisor who customizes services to meet their student's unique needs. Some of our most popular services include:

  • Academic support and coaching
  • Personal coaching and mentoring
  • Major exploration
  • Course selection and degree progress planning, in coordination with faculty advisors
  • Career exploration and planning
  • Grad school exploration and entrance test preparation
  • Exclusive scholarship opportunities
  • Nationwide networking with TRIO alumni
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Educational and cultural trips
  • Financial and economic literacy education
  • Access to the TRIO resource library of materials


Program Objectives

Each year, the TRIO program strives to ensure the success of our participating students and is tasked with meeting the following goals:

  • At least 85% of TRIO participants will graduate or persist in their education from one academic year to the next.
  • At least 88% of TRIO participants will achieve good academic standing.
  • At least 80% of TRIO participants will graduate with a bachelor's degree within six years


Program Eligibility Requirements

The US Department of Education has established the following eligibility criteria for participation in a TRIO SSS program:

  • A current Westminster student, or be accepted for enrollment for the next academic semester at Westminster College
  • A citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States
  • Demonstrate an academic need that TRIO can meet to pursue a bachelor's degree successfully
  • Pursuing their first Bachelor's degree

Students must also meet any one or more of the following criteria:

  • First Generation (Neither parent or guardian has earned a bachelor's degree, or a single-parent/guardian household where the parent/guardian has not earned a bachelor's degree)
  • Income eligibility, as determined by the Federal Government. View the current income guidelines.
  • Have a documented disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • Individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources to learn more about how they may seek accommodations and support for their specific needs.


How to Apply

To apply for the TRIO SSS Program, please complete the appropriate online application listed below. Please note that the application may require you to gather additional information and documents before completion. Paper copies of the application are available in the TRIO office on the 2nd floor of McKelvey Campus Center.

After submitting your application, the TRIO SSS team will determine your eligibility. If you are selected to participate, we will contact you to schedule a program orientation and meeting with your TRIO SSS advisor.

 Join TRIO- Online Application


Meet the TRIO Team

Erik D. Austin

TRIO Program Director
Erik D. Austin

Marissa A. Kelly

Academic Advisor for the TRIO SSS Program
Marissa A. Kelly



Dan Urban

Academic Advisor for the TRIO SSS Program
Dan Urban



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The TRIO Student Support Services project at Westminster College is 100% federally funded at $272,364.00 for the 2023-2024 program year.