TRiO-S3 is one of nine Federal TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education that supports eligible students excel through the academic pipeline--from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO began with demands for greater access to higher education in the 1960's. It was the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. (Previously only college financing had been on policymakers' radar.) Ever since, the TRIO programs have been a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans.

The nine TRIO programs include (established date in parenthesis):

  • Upward Bound (1964)
  • Talent Search (1965)
  • Student Support Services (1968)
  • Educational Opportunity Centers (1972)
  • Veterans Upward Bound (1972)
  • Training Program for Federal TRIO programs (1976)
  • The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program (1986)
  • Upward Bound Math/Science (1990)
  • TRIO Dissemination Partnership (1998)

Each TRiO program provides a variety of support including, academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access  to higher education and persistence towards graduation for students from low-income students, first-generation college students, and students with different learning and physical abilities.

Together, TRIO encourages access to higher education for historically excluded students.

Why are TRIO programs important? 

The United States needs to boost both its academic and economic competitiveness globally. 

In order to foster and maintain a healthy economy as well as compete globally, the United States needs a strong, highly-educated, and competent workforce. To be on par with other nations, the country needs students, no matter their background, who are academically prepared and motivated to achieve success.

The growing achievement gap in our country is detrimental to our success as a nation. 

There is a tremendous gap in educational attainment between America's highest and lowest income students — despite similar talents and potential. While there are numerous talented and worthy TRiO eligible students, relatively few are represented in higher education, particularly at America's more selective four-year colleges and universities.

For example,

    • While nearly 67% of high-income, highly-qualified students enroll in four-year colleges, only 47% of low-income, highly-qualified students enroll.
    • Even more startling, 77% of the least-qualified, high-income students go on to college, while roughly the same proportion of the most-qualified low-income students that go on to college. (ACSFA 2005).

Our mission:

At UC Berkeley, our goal is aligned with that of the U.S. Department of Education: to increase the success of TRiO students once in college.

Our approach is to cultivate a supportive community for TRiO students and overcome systemic barriers by further enhancing skillsets instrumental to success and developing a sense of belonging here at Cal.


Required Services

  • Individualized Academic advisement and course selection
  • Financial/economic literacy education including postsecondary financial planning
  • Academic tutoring through existing Student Learning Center resources
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships assistance –full range including FAFSA completion assistance
  • Graduate/Professional school assistance in applying for admission to, and obtaining financial assistance for enrollment


Optional Services

  • Summer Transition Program
  • Career exploration and assessment
  • Exposure to cultural/educational activities
  • Personal counseling
  • Peer and professional mentoring, academic coaching
  • Study skills development assistance

Click here for more information on how we engage our mission.



Karen Nielson, JD/MSW
Director, DSP/DSP TRiO
Policies & Practices/Complaints
Lead Specialist/Specialist Manager

Juan G. Berumen, PhD(link sends e-mail)
TRiO Program Coordinator

Maria Fontana, MA, CRC (link sends e-mail)
TRIO Specialist

Esther Green(link sends e-mail)
TRIO Student Services Assistant