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Low-income students are being left behind. Only 38% of low-income high school seniors go straight to college as compared to 81% of their peers in the highest income quartile. Then, once enrolled in college, low-income students earn bachelor's degrees at a rate that is less than half of that of their high-income peers — 21% as compared with 45%.

Students in the Upward Bound program are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO. Nearly 20 percent of all Black and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs. Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.

Who Does TRIO Serve?

Who Does TRIO Serve?

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with low-moderate income where neither parent graduated from college.

More than 2,800 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 758,000 low-income Americans. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12.


Thirty-seven percent of TRIO students are Whites, 35% are African-Americans, 19% are Hispanics, 4% are Native Americans, 4% are Asian-Americans, and 1% are listed as "Other," including multiracial students.


Seven thousand students with disabilities and more than 6,000 U.S. veterans are currently enrolled in the TRIO Programs as well.


Northern Vermont University Lyndon Upward Bound

A federally funded program dedicated to serving college-bound, first-generation, and modest-income students from Northeastern Vermont and New Hampshire and helping them achieve their academic goals

since 1985.

43 Years of Educational Opportunity


Since its inception, the Upward Bound program at Northern Vermont University – Lyndon has provided first-generation, moderate-income students from area high schools the guidance and opportunities needed to help them achieve their post-secondary educational dreams.

Since 1964, across the nation, millions of high school students from moderate-income homes have become the first in their families to earn a college degree through the federally-funded TRIO Upward Bound programs that operate in each state. Established as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, these programs invite high school students from moderate-income families to study on a college campus. During the school year, they have access to tutoring and academic counseling to keep them on track for graduation, and during the summer, they move into residence halls and enroll in classes designed to prepare them for the year ahead.

The TRIO Programs (initially just three programs) are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as TRIO. TRIO students are first generation, college bound, and from moderate income families and/or are students with disabilities. Vermont’s TRIO programs are federally funded educational opportunity programs assisting over 8,000 middle school, high school and college bound adults throughout Vermont. Vermont’s TRIO programs include Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Centers and GEAR UP, all hosted by VSAC, and the college based Student Support Services and Upward Bound. Combined, these programs receive over 9 million dollars in federal funds to promote access to and success in higher education for Vermont students.

In 1980, at what was then known as Lyndon State College, Lyndon Upward Bound began its first 5-year grant cycle, working with 50 students from 13 area high schools. In the years since, the program has provided service to over 1,000 students from across the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Northern New Hampshire. It is committed to providing modest-income, first-generation, college-bound students with the academic background, college preparatory experiences, and support needed to succeed in college immediately after high school. The program works annually with 75 students, in 10 area high schools who are dedicated to achieving their post-secondary goals. Students spend six weeks of their summer living on the campus of NVU - Lyndon where they take college preparatory courses, hold volunteer work study positions in the community, and participate in activities on campus while living in the residence halls. Upward Bound also provides academic guidance and support to students throughout the school year where students participate in community service activities, financial aid workshops, leadership and cultural events, and college tours. As one of the federally-funded TRIO programs through the US. Department of Education, Upward Bound is free for any eligible participating student.

According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, only 16% of students from the lowest income quartile achieve a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24. Over the last 10 years, Lyndon Upward Bound students graduated at an impressive rate of 70%. And those same students excel in all parts of their educational world: 65% of Lyndon Upward Bound’s current high school students are on their schools’ honor rolls, and 24% of them are in the National Honor Society. Their average SAT scores are a full 200 points higher than the national average for similar income eligible students. This is in small part due to the support provided by Upward Bound, but much more strongly reflects the drive and motivation of students that choose to be part of the program.


In the fall of 2022, the Lyndon Upward Bound grant was renewed for another five years. The program will see the name of its home college change again – from Northern Vermont University to Vermont State University. And as the years roll by, Lyndon Upward Bound will continue to provide its exceptional group of first-generation, modest-income, college-bound students the tools they need to attain the education they desire.

In The News....

Northern Vermont University – Lyndon Upward Bound Students Tour Maine Selective Colleges

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Five Northern Vermont University’s Lyndon Upward Bound students were the guest of three of Maine’s most selective colleges; Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College. For many of these schools, these were some of the first in-person college tours they have given in over a year. The students started off with a presentation by an admissions officer at Colby which covered retention rate, campus life, cost, and life after college. The students then had a 90 minute tour by two Colby students that covered life on campus, academic buildings, dining hall, and athletic facilities.

The Upward Bound program then traveled to Lewiston Maine for a self-guided tour of Bates College, a small private liberal arts college with just over 1800 students. The students were also able to see a 30 minute virtual information session about the campus and it’s history, the community, and their holistic approach to admissions. 

Northern Vermont University - Lyndon Upward Bound

Students Tour Maine Colleges


On February 21st and 22nd, Five TRIO Upward Bound students from Northern Vermont University – Lyndon traveled to Bangor, Maine for an overnight trip to tour two colleges: The University of Maine at Orono, and Husson University. They were joined by Lyndon Upward Bound Alumna and summer Residential Tutor Counselor Lauren Holt who offered to help chaperone the trip! The group left bright and early on Monday morning from the Lyndon Campus and the students talked for the entire duration of the 4 and a half hour van ride to Husson University, a small private liberal arts college in Bangor, ME with over 70 degree programs and one of the cheapest tuition rates of any college in the country. After eating lunch at the Dickerman Dining Center, the students headed out on a tour of the campus and its facilities, led by a current student in the Education program at Husson University.

NVU - Lyndon Upward Bound Students Attend Tour Saint Anselm College

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On Friday, December 10th, three Northern Vermont University – Lyndon Upward Bound students decided to spend the cold winter day touring Saint Anselm College. Located in Goffstown, NH, Saint Anselm College is a private, Benedictine, Liberal Arts College which offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors, Division II athletics, and many different clubs and activities for their students.

The Upward Bound students, Charlie, Jayden, and Thomas, spent the two hour drive south talking about what they hoped to learn about the college on the tour. All three students are high school juniors with interests in engineering, psychology, and pre-medical studies respectively. They brainstormed questions that they planned to ask the tour guide and talked through the pros and cons of different colleges.

What is TRIO Anyway?

What is TRIO Anyway?

The Federal TRIO Programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


TRIO includes eight outreach and support programs targeted to serve and assist low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs.

These Programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (initially just three programs).


While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

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