Frequently Asked Questions

What is TRIO Achievers?

TRIO Achievers is a federally funded program, which is designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with a disability. TRIO Achievers (also known as Student Support Services nationally) at Cal Poly is funded at $344,414 annually by the U.S. Department of Education and set up to serve approximately 258 students.

Why should I become an TRIO Achievers member?

TRIO Achievers is a great place to start your journey at Cal Poly, because of the dedicated professional and student staff who invest in your academic, financial, social and cultural enrichment. The program can help you build on your strengths and address your areas of concern. By becoming a participant, you will gain access to services and opportunities not available to other students on campus.

What can I talk about with my TRIO Achievers advisor?

There is so much to talk about with your advisor. Conversations can range from “How do I drop a class” and “Where do I go to ______,” to “How do I complete a FAFSA?” and “I am having a problem with my friends and professors.” Really, the sky’s the limit on what you and your advisor can talk about. They are always here to help you in your goal towards graduation!

How do I apply for the program?

Interested students may complete an online application on our website. See the Eligibility and Application page for requirements. If there are available slots, eligible students will be contacted to alert them of their eligibility.

How much does the program cost?

All services and activities are free to participants.

What support services are provided?

For additional information regarding these services please visit our services page.

  • Academic Advising
  • Personal Advising
  • Graduate and Professional Advising
  • Tutoring
  • LINKS Peer Mentor Program
  • Financial Literacy
  • Workshops
  • Cultural Enrichment Activities/Field Trips
  • First-Year Seminar
  • TRIO Living Learning Community

What is the purpose of TRIO Achievers?

The goal is to increase student retention and graduation by offering additional supportive services and outreach, such as advising, tutoring and mentoring. The TRIO Achievers staff are advocates for program participants. Our mission is to inform, inspire, empower and contribute to the success of underrepresented students by supporting student’s academic, personal and professional growth. TRIO staff focuses on our participants as more than students, we utilize a holistic approach to support participants as a whole.

Who can participate?

TRIO Achievers is funded to serve 258 students who are first-generation, low income, and/or have a documented disability.

Am I eligible for TRIO Achievers?

To qualify for TRIO Achievers, a student must be a U.S. citizen, or national, or a recipient of federal financial aid. In addition, students must be first-generation, and/ or low-income and/ or have a documented disability.

Who is a first-generation college student?

Any student whose parents did not graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Is TRIO Achievers for academically deficient students only?

No. Participants in TRIO Achievers vary greatly according to age, ethnicity, academic talent, major, and every characteristic in between. The one thing all should have in common, other than eligibility criteria, is a drive to complete college successfully and be well prepared for the future.

I was an above-average student in high school. Why would I need this type of assistance?

During your college experience, you may need some help regardless of your performance level in high school. In fact, many of the students who enroll in our program had above-average grades in high school. Because many students discover that university life presents increased social, financial, and academic challenges typically not experienced in high school, we recommend that students take advantage of the resources available through our program.

Do I need to be a first-year freshman to apply?

We accept applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as transfer students.

How long will I remain in TRIO Achievers?

As long as you are an undergraduate at Cal Poly.

Is admissions to TRIO Achievers program automatic?

No, students must complete a program application found in the eligibility tab.

Can everyone participate?

Unfortunatly No. TRIO Achievers serves eligible students only. The TRIO Achievers program is open to students who are currently enrolled at Cal Poly and are first-generation college students (neither parent(s)/guardian(s) have earned a bachelor’s degree), meet federal income guidelines, and/or have a documented disability. Additionally, students must be a U.S. citizen (or national of the United States or meets the residency requirements for Federal Student Financial Assistance). The program is an exclusive program and can only serve 258 students each academic year. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis, so do not hesitate to apply.

Will participation in the TRIO Achievers program interfere with my classes?

TRIO Achievers meetings, workshops, discussions, and tutoring are all offered to help ensure your success at Cal Poly and beyond. At no time, will you be required to miss class to attend an TRIO Achievers function.

Will participation in the TRIO Achievers program appear on my transcript?

No. Participation in the program is provided to enhance your success at the university. Students' eligibility criteria are held in strict confidence.

What is expected of me as a member of TRIO Achievers?

Once you have been accepted into the program, you must meet with a TRIO staff member once per quarter during the academic year to discuss your academic progress, educational goals, career objectives, and any other concerns you may have. Students are encouraged to meet beyond the required amount to foster a deeper connection. 

How much time will it take every quarter?

The time commitment largely depends upon you. It might be a few hours each quarter or a few hours each week. Please bear in mind that our meetings, workshops, discussions, and tutoring are all offered to help ensure your success at Cal Poly and beyond. At no time will you be required to miss class to attend a TRIO Achievers function.

How do I sign up for tutoring?

Tutoring is coordinated through the Writing and Learning Center. Should you have questions about this process, please contact us.

Is there any grant aid available through TRIO Achievers?

Yes. Small amounts of grant aid are awarded to Pell-eligible first-time program participants during the academic year. An official call for grant aid will be sent out to eligible program participants. Additionally, we email our students weekly updates that feature additional scholarship opportunities and more.

Does TRIO Achievers provide testing to determine if a student has a learning disability?

No, we do not provide testing to determine if a student has a learning disability. However, the Disability Resource Center can assist students with the necessary information to find a suitable testing site.

If a TRIO Achievers student withdraws from Cal Poly but is eventually readmitted to the university, does he/she have to reapply to the program?

No. Readmitted students who were previously active members of TRIO Achievers need to contact the office and schedule an appointment with a TRIO Achievers advisor to reactivate their applications. Once students complete this process, they can begin receiving services once again.

What does TRiO mean?

TRiO refers to a series of programs, funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, created to assist disadvantaged Americans in overcoming class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. The term “TRiO” was coined to represent the initial three programs; Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Inquiries can be made to the TRIO Achievers office via email at Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm.

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