trio students at CU campus
FRCC students visiting CU-Boulder for First-Generation Transfer Day events on February 25.

Front Range Community College is lucky to have three TRIO programs to serve students who come from limited-income families, are first generation college students, or have a documented disability. Through TRIO, we help them on their journey toward enrolling and eventually graduating from college. 

Today FRCC is celebrating National TRIO Day—but why stop at just one day? We have events planned to share the inspiring stories of our TRIO students and alumni all week. (Keep reading for details on how to join in the fun!) 

According to the Council for Opportunity in Education, National TRIO Day commemorates the achievements of the national TRIO Programs. It gives us an opportunity to focus the nation’s attention “on the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives if they are to become contributing citizens of the country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made.” 

So What, Exactly, Is TRIO? 

TRIO is a group of federal programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are designed to support and motivate students’ progress through the academic pipeline from middle school through college. 

There are actually several federal TRIO programs—and here at FRCC we’re lucky enough to have more than one: TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at our Boulder County and Westminster Campuses and TRIO Upward Bound at our Westminster Campus. 

SSS Program—Geared for College Students 

TRIO SSS is designed to provide a community of support for students who come from an underserved background. We provide wraparound services that promote academic, personal, and professional growth—as well as assistance navigating financial aid and financial literacy.  

“TRIO SSS provides a positive environment where scholars know that their voice, experiences and dreams will be cultivated and inspired to grow,” says Becky Chavez, director of the TRIO SSS program at FRCC’s Boulder County Campus. FRCC also has a great TRIO program for students at our Westminster Campus and Brighton Center.  

Upward Bound Program—Focused on High School Students 

The FRCC TRIO Upward Bound program serves as a supportive learning community to assist 60 Westminster High School students and their families annually with navigating educational and career pathways.  

These are students who are interested in pursuing postsecondary education, and the program’s goal is to get them there—through mentorship, academic support, college and career guidance and a summer academy.  

Once admitted to the program, participants receive holistic support to complete high school graduation requirements and pursue a post-secondary education at a college of their choice. Learn more here about the Upward Bound Program at Westminster High School

TRIO Works 

TRIO programs have proven to be highly effective at helping these students navigate—and succeed in—the complex and unfamiliar environment of higher education.  

Studies show that SSS participants have higher rates of student retention and transfer, improved grade point averages and increased credit accumulation. They also have higher rates in degree completion at both two-year and four-year colleges. (Source: Center for Opportunities in Education) 

Impressive Alumni 

Graduates of FRCC’s TRIO programs are in very good company around the country. Many Student Support Services alumni have gone on to great success over the years—among them Emmy, Tony and Academy-Award winning actress Viola Davis, U.S. Rep. Gwendolyn Moore of Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District and Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Hispanic astronaut. 

FRCC Events This Week 

If you’re interested in learning more about TRIO—or just want to celebrate these programs and the hard-working students they serve, please join us for one of our virtual events during TRIO Week (February 28-March 4).  

Make it Happen Monday 

February 28  |  12:30 pm 

Hear from keynote speaker Chris Garcia—a local community leader, advocate and podcaster—about being a first generation student. Join us in person at FRCC’s Boulder County Campus (in the Community Room) or click here to join virtually

TRIO Stories Tuesday 

March 1  |  11:00 am 

Join us for our TRIO student panel! Hear from current TRIO scholars about how the program has impacted their lives. Click here to join virtually

Transfer Thursday 

March 3  |  10:00 am 

Meet the staff of the CU-Denver TRIO Programs (SSS and McNair) and learn more about how TRIO can help you when you transfer to a four-year institution. Click here to join virtually

March 3  |  12:30pm 

We’re hosting another panel discussion to hear from FRCC students who have transferred to four-year institutions—or are in the process of transferring now. Find out what their experience has been like by joining us virtually

Please note: all events are scheduled to be one hour long. 

We hope you can join us this week as we celebrate TRIO, its current students and graduates—and all the opportunities that these programs provide. 

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