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SDES TRiO Center

The term "TRiO" was coined in the late 1960s to describe three federally funded educational opportunity outreach programs. It began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” TRiO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

The three original TRiO programs included Upward Bound (1964), Educational Talent Search (1965) and Student Support Services (1968). Since the development of the three; five additional programs have been added: Educational Opportunity Centers (1972), Veterans Upward Bound (1972), Training Programs for Special Programs Staff and Leadership (1976), Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (1986), and Upward Bound Math/Science (1990). TRiO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRiO projects.

UCF has three TRiO projects: PRIME STEM Project BEST (both housed in SDES) and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (housed in Undergraduate Studies).

About Student Support Services

The goal of Student Support Services (SSS) is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and help students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next. The SSS grant provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. There are more than 1000 SSS programs across the United States and Puerto Rico.

UCF received the first of its two SSS grants in 2010. Through funding from this grant, the PRIME STEM Project was conceptualized and implemented at UCF. PRIME STEM supports students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), as well as Health Sciences majors. The institution was notified in fall 2015 that it had been re-funded for PRIME STEM and funded for a second SSS grant, Project BEST that serves students across all majors at UCF.

Combined, the two programs provide services to 260 qualified students (120 PRIME STEM, 140 Project BEST) who meet program eligibility requirements. All scholars have an opportunity to receive advice and assistance with course selection (supplemental advising), academic tutoring, information about and assistance with applying for federal financial aid, assistance with applying for graduate/professional school, education and training for economic/financial literacy, mentoring, and cultural events.

Services Provided
  • Academic tutoring
  • Academic coaching
  • Advice and assistance with course selection
  • Assistance with information, completing and applying for Federal Financial Aid
  • Education/counseling designed to improve financial and economic literacy
  • Assistance in applying for admission to graduate and professional programs
Benefits to Students
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Peer mentoring
  • Faculty/staff mentoring
  • Access to computers and printers
  • Free access to study guides for the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, DAT and more
  • Professional and cultural events
  • Opportunities for leadership development
  • Life management workshops
  • Community of scholars on campus

PRIME: Purpose + Reach = Individuals Measured for Excellence

The PRIME STEM Project/Student Support Services is designed to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and to assist students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next. PRIME STEM is tailored to meet the needs of 120 students who are pursuing and will be graduating in STEM related majors: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Sciences.

PRIME STEM recruits students with SAT math scores of 490-590 or ACT scores of 18-23 and who are first generation in college students, who have a demonstrated financial need and/or those who have a documented disability.

Student Support Services-STEM (PRIME STEM)

  • Objective 1— Persistence Rate: 88% of all participants served by the SSS project will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year or will have earned a bachelor’s degree at the applicant institution during the academic year.

  • Objective 2— Good Academic Standing Rate: 90% of all enrolled SSS participants served will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing at the applicant institution.

  • Objective 3— Graduation Rate: 65% of new participants served each year will graduate from the applicant institution with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent within six (6) years.

BEST: Building Exemplary Scholars for Tomorrow

Project BEST/Student Support Services is designed to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and to assist students make the transition from one level of higher education to the next. The Project is tailored to meet the needs of 140 students who are pursuing a degree in any major.

Project BEST recruits students with SAT math scores of 490-590 or ACT scores of 18-23 and who are first generation in college students, who have a demonstrated financial need and/or those who have a documented disability.

Student Support Services (Project BEST)

  • Objective 1— Persistence Rate: 85% of all participants served by the SSS project will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year or will have earned a bachelor’s degree at the applicant institution during the academic year.

  • Objective 2— Good Academic Standing Rate: 85% of all enrolled SSS participants served will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing at the applicant institution.

  • Objective 3— Graduation Rate: 70% of new participants served each year will graduate from the applicant institution with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent within six (6) years

More Information

For more information about the SDES TRiO Center and the application process, see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). 

TRiO Flyer

the program TRiO