Who We Are
The Council for Opportunity in Education is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities throughout the United States. Its membership includes more than 1,000 colleges and agencies. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies that host TRIO programs to specifically help low-income students enter college and graduate. 790,000 low-income students and students with disabilities each year receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.
Federal TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans' Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) help students to overcome class, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education.
TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic assistance in high school or assistance to reenter high school or college.
The work of educational opportunity organizations has contributed significant accomplishments:
- an estimated 2 million students graduating from college;
- the integration of 2,800 TRIO programs into college campuses, serving 790,000 students (two-thirds of whom come from families with incomes under $35,325 — family of four);
- the establishment of performance standards that are subject to specific outcome measures. Each program's continued funding is dependent upon meeting quantifiable objectives related to college entrance and graduation rates;
- increased national awareness of equal educational opportunity issues and diversity in colleges and universities; and
- leveraged $800 million in FY 2013 to support TRIO Programs (up from $174.9 in 1985)
The mission of the Council is to advance and defend the ideal of equal educational opportunity in postsecondary education. As such, the focus of the Council is assuring that the least advantaged segments of the population have a realistic chance to enter and graduate from a postsecondary institution.
Who is Served
As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes under $35,325, where neither parent graduated from college. More than 2,800 TRIO programs currently serve close to 790,000 low-income students. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12.