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TRIO Student Support Services moving to Office of Undergraduate Studies

TRIO Student Support Services at the University of Utah will now be housed in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Through a supportive environment, TRIO programs empower underrepresented students to access post-secondary education and successfully complete their degrees. Previously, these programs were housed in Student Affairs.

“The strong foundation of the TRIO programs was established in Student Affairs where the program has been housed since its inception in the 70s,” said Maria Martinez, the director of TRIO. “The opportunity to more closely align with Academic Affairs will only strengthen our collaborative efforts and impact.”

According to Martinez, the commitment the Office of Undergraduate Studies makes to low-income and first-generation college students is imperative for the continued success of TRIO programs. There are eight federal TRIO programs that are 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 U has two of these programs located on its campus: Upward Bound and Student Support Services.

“Undergraduate Studies is well-suited to support TRIO as it continues to grow and create opportunities for our students,” said Lori McDonald, the vice president for Student Affairs. “Closer collaboration and partnership with bridge programs and advising efforts will provide enhanced support for students in achieving their academic goals.”

Brandon Johnson, the associate dean for student success and transformative experiences in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, worked in a TRIO program early in his career. The experience made a lasting impact on him and shaped his commitment to student success.

“Having TRIO along with the Office of First-Generation Access under the Undergraduate Studies umbrella will have lasting benefits for all involved, including students, program staff and faculty,” Johnson said. “Students will experience a seamless transition and a formal connection to the many programs and services in Undergraduate Studies.”

TRIO is committed to transforming society to promote social justice and freedom from oppression, including racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism and ableism.

“Since 1965 TRIO Programs have benefitted countless first-generation students across the U.S.,” said T. Chase Hagood, the senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs. “The addition of TRIO to the Office of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Utah marks a renewed commitment to student success for all first-generation college-going students in Utah. We are delighted to have TRIO joining us.”