TRIO Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is TRIO?
TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from different backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. More than 850,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities – from sixth grade through college graduation – are served by more than 2000 programs nation-wide. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other support necessary for educational access and retention.  TRIO at Oakton Community College is part of the national programs that work towards college success.

What is TRIO Student Support Services at Oakton Community College?
The mission of TRIO at Oakton Community College is to provide comprehensive support that empowers eligible students to overcome academic, economic, and social barriers to obtaining educational success.

TRIO Student Support Services at Oakton has been in existence since 1990. TRIO Student Support Services at Oakton works closely with students to ensure that those who are first-generation, identified low-income. and/or have a disability reach their full academic potential

Who funds TRIO?
The U. S. Department of Education funds TRIO. In addition the program receives a match of approximately 27 percent  from Oakton Community College.

Is there an additional cost to be a TRIO student?
No. The TRIO program provides FREE services for eligible students.

Can TRIO help me pay for college?
TRIO will assist you as you seek financial assistance (FAFSA, scholarships, loans, and referrals) for college. TRIO cannot pay for your college expenses, but can definitely help you figure out the process.

How do I become a TRIO Participant at Oakton Community College?
Students may apply online or in person. If you fill out our Interest Form online, we will email you a copy of the request form (also called the "Request for Services"). Or, stop by one of the TRIO offices in the Skokie Learning Center (Skokie Room A135) or Des Plaines Enrollment Center (Des Plaines Room 1740).  You can also e-mail trio@oakton.edu and a TRIO Request for Services form will be e-mailed to you.

Who is eligible for the TRIO program?
To be eligibile for TRIO services, students must be a U.S. Citiizen or Permanent Resident and must meet AT LEAST ONE of the following criteria:

  • Qualify as Low-Income;
  • Be a First-Generation college student (neither parent has completed a bachelor’s degree (4 Year degree);
  • Have a documented disability and receive services from the ADRC (Access and Disability Resource Center) at Oakton.

What services are available to TRIO students?
Although the College tailors its services to each student’s needs, TRIO offers the following:

  • Academic advising and guidance with a TRIO staff member while at Oakton
  • Transfer guidance and support to 4-year colleges/universities
  • Tuition waiver for successful completion of College 108 or CIS 101 course
  • Financial assistance, guidance and support
  • Community building activities and events on campus and throughout the Chicagoland area.

Once accepted as TRIO participant, a student will work one-on-one with a TRIO staff member who will serve as a student’s primary contact point and source of information on goal setting, course selection, transfer assistance, career and major exploration, and financial aid. As long as they remain in good standing and are enrolled in classes at Oakton, TRIO students are eligible for services until they graduate and/or transfer.

Can TRIO help me transfer to a 4-Year College/University?
TRIO helps students set and obtain their educational goals. Students who want to transfer to a four-year college or university have many choices to make. TRIO will work hard to help you understand the process and provide assistance as needed. TRIO also sponsors trips to area colleges and universities each year.

I have been accepted into the TRIO program. What do I do next?
TRIO strongly encourages students to be as active with the program as possible. Students who stay in close contact with their advisor tend to do better academically and feel more connected to the college environment. As a TRIO participant, you should schedule regular appointments to meet with your TRIO advisor to discuss your current and future plans.

I have a documented disability; does TRIO provide accommodations?
No. Contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at Oakton regarding a request for accomodations. TRIO collaborates with the ADRC staff to understand the accommodations available to students who have a documented disability, but does not provide accommodations directly.

Is TRIO a club at Oakton?
Although not an official organization or club sponsored by Student Life, TRIO participants are part of a group of 215 students at Oakton. TRIO students have the opportunity to become involved with other students at events and activities scheduled at Oakton and off-campus.

Why should I be a part of TRIO at Oakton Community College?
TRIO has been helping first-generation and low-income students, and students with disabilities at Oakton since 1990. Statistics show that being part of TRIO really works!

I'm in TRIO Now. If I stop taking classes, can I still be in TRIO?
Any changes in student status (dropping classes, or taking off a semester) should be immediately discussed with your TRIO advisor to determine your continued eligibility for the program.

I received a letter from Advising Services. Do I still need to see an advisor there?
Students accepted into TRIO should use their TRIO advisor as their primary academic advisor. TRIO advisors handle the same services provided by the advisors in Advising Services.