TRIO and GEAR UP staff and students at Wichita State University celebrating "National TRIO Day" by volunteering in-person and virtually at various community and world-wide organizations.

2021 Trio & Gear Up Community Service Days banner logo image.

TRIO & GEAR UP Celebrations

In 1986, a congressional resolution designated a day in February as "National TRIO Day" to commemorate the annual achievements of the Federal TRIO programs in communities across the country. At Wichita State, TRIO and GEAR UP programs, under the Office of Special Programs, have collaborated for several years to bring attention to the students served and the important work by these programs that is being done at WSU, the city and across the state of Kansas.

This year, TRIO and GEAR UP staff and students celebrating "National TRIO Day" by volunteering in-person and virtually at various community and world-wide organizations. Books were donated by Talent Search staff to Little Free Libraries located in low income neighborhoods in Wichita to address literacy; Haysville GEAR UP staff participated in the community service project called Motivational Words held at Campus High School and Wilbur Middle School; Disability Support Services participated in a project through the United Nations World Food Programme to address food insecurity; and Veteran’s Upward Bound staff volunteered at the Lord's Diner.


 Virtual Roundtable Videos

2021 TRIO & GEAR UP Celebrations

The Associate Vice President discusses how TRIO & GEAR UP programs are meeting the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice and more.

Pre-college Program Directors Roundtable

TRIO & GEAR UP leaders under the Office of Special Programs share the innovative ways in which services and activities are successfully delivered in the school districts.

College & Adult Program Directors Roundtable

WSU’s TRIO program directors that serve university students and adult clients, including veterans, talk about the value of their services and the impact on individuals.

Pre-college Students Roundtable

TRIO & GEAR UP pre-college students share their experiences and tribute their successes to the programs they participated in.

College Students Roundtable

TRIO & GEAR UP college students share their experiences and tribute their successes to the programs they participated in.

Alumni Roundtable

TRIO & GEAR UP alumni share their experiences and tribute their successes to the programs they participated in.

Community Service Gallery

Haysville GEAR UP

Words matter. Haysville GEAR UP plans on making motivational facelift at Haysville Public Schools. Motivational Words Project at Campus Hight School. In 2018, we executed the same project at Wilbur High School. School district received a lot of positive feedback from students and staff.

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Educational Opportunity Centers

ECO Community Service volunteered for Operation Holiday

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Talent Search Community Service

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TRIO & GEAR UP Program Profiles

Communication Upward Bound

Upward Bound creates an academic plan of support for every year of high school so students remain on track in accumulating the necessary credits for graduation and post-secondary education. The “Communication” is that our program is in partnership with WSU’s Elliott School of Communication. We’re based in Elliott Hall on the main campus. Whatever profession you decide to enter, you’ll be required to be proficient in the art & skill of communication. In other words, “one cannot not communicate.”

Our program introduces high school students to the world of communication. That includes understanding how we connect with others, our personal identity, communication in personal relationships, the verbal dimension of communication as well as careers in the communication field. We also provide up close and personal opportunities for students to explore diverse careers including engineering, science, medical field, and education.

Disability Support Services

TRIO Disability Support Services (DSS) at Wichita State has been in existence since 2001. The goal of the program is to increase college retention and graduation rates for students with learning, physical and psychological disabilities.

DSS services include academic advising, course selection and degree planning, personal counseling, individualized tutoring, career exploration, study/life skills workshops, financial aid advice, grant aid/scholarships, financial aid/economic literacy instruction, computer lab usage, graduate school information and selection, textbook/calculator loan program, campus and community involvement.

DSS is one of the first TRIO programs designed specifically for students with disabilities in the state and is currently one of only 56 across the nation. Program staff ensures faculty, staff, students and community members are aware of the program services and educates constituents on effectively assisting students with disabilities.

Program students utilize DSS and Office of Disability Services adaptive computer lab and tutors assist students in undergraduate courses. Study Skills Coordinator develops and maintains the webpage, for students who are unable to attend the workshops.

The annual TRIO Disability Support Services/Office of Disability Services Student Recognition is a collaboration between the two programs that celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of program students, tutors, graduates and scholarship recipients. Support from WSU administrators, faculty, staff, and community leaders are also highlighted.

2019-2020 Program Highlights

  • 22 Bachelor degree recipients
  • 19 Academic Commendation awardees, 32 Dean’s Honor Roll awardees
  • 87% persistence rate (100 of 115 students)
  • 93% (107 of 115 students) met academic performance levels required to stay in good academic standing
  • 57 students received 1,637 hours of tutoring for courses totaling 388 credit hours
  • Awarded $12,416.00 in grant aid, Educational Opportunity Fund, and the Phillip Bowers Memorial Beacon of Light Education Fund scholarships

Educational Opportunity Centers

The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), hosted by Wichita State University (WSU), serves low-income and potential first generation college students and other eligible adults living in selected areas of the greater Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (Wichita MSA). The greater Wichita MSA has a high concentration of low-income, non-baccalaureate degree people. Specific areas within the greater Wichita MSA to be served are the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

The existing EOC Center is located in WSU’s Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex and holds administrative space in the Brennan Hall I Building located on the main WSU campus. EOC staff work cooperatively with the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Get AHEAD Campaign. Additionally, the EOC staff sit on the United Way of The Plains (Wichita) Emergency Assistance Network (EAN) and EOC is part of the statewide 2-1-1 Information and Referral System.

The mission of the Educational Opportunity Centers Program is to provide services for adults desiring to pursue their education beyond high school. The Center’s goal is to increase the number of adults in the target areas enrolling in colleges and universities. EOC seeks to inform both adults and the larger community about educational opportunities that fosters the ability of adults to enter the workforce as educated personnel.  

EOC pursues its mission utilizing a professional staff committed to the idea of educational access for persons who are first generation, limited income, under employed, veterans and/or disabled. In an effort to connect adults to education, staff conducts outreach at DCF, Atwater, Evergreen, and Colvin neighborhood centers.

2017 - 2018 Program Highlights

  • Provided free back to school services to 1,000 adult learners
  • Provided free access to Student Lingo the on-line academic success software
  • Created Education Action Plans for adult learners
  • Program participants awarded over $XXX in Federal Financial Aid
  • Program participants applied to postsecondary institutions

McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars) is federally funded and designed to provide research and scholarly activities that promote the acquisition of doctoral studies for first generation, low-income and underrepresented college students. The McNair Scholars Program began in 1989 with 14 programs and was named in honor of Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D. to increase the number of minorities pursuing teaching and administrative careers in higher education. While working on laser physics at the Hughes Research Laboratory, McNair was accepted into the astronaut program and was the second African-American to fly in space. During his second mission, the Challenger exploded 90 seconds into its flight, killing McNair and the other six crewmembers.

In 1995, Wichita State received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to begin the McNair Scholars Program. Each year, this program provides services to 28 students on the WSU campus, working to ensure that each of these participants graduate with a bachelor’s degree and enter a graduate program, leading to pursuit and completion of a doctoral degree.

Core Program Services

  • Writing skills development and academic tutoring
  • Research methods course
  • Faculty-led seminars, graduate preparation seminars and research assembly meetings
  • Personalized mentoring from faculty
  • GRE preparation
  • Graduate school campus visits

Program Highlights

  • 332 students served since 1995
  • 131 students have received a master’s degree since 1995
  • 24 alumni graduated with doctoral degrees since 1995
  • 10 alumni currently enrolled in doctoral programs
  • More than 200 students presented at local, regional, and/or national conferences
  • More than 200 students published in undergraduate journals

Student Support Services

The TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program at Wichita State University (WSU) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve 250 university students who are first-generation, from limited income backgrounds, and/or of disability status. SSS has provided free academic support services for eligible students at WSU, since 1970. More specifically, Student Support Services (SSS) provides students course planning assistance, personalized tutoring, resources for academic skills development, a book loan library, access to technology, scholarships, assistance with FAFSA completion and submission, career exploration, and graduate school advising. The underlying goals of SSS are to help students persist, remain in good standing, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree within a six-year period. The SSS-Professional Staff include a director, assistant director, database specialist, advisor, and senior administrative assistant/co-financial literacy coordinator. Tutors and student assistants also help to manage the SSS-Project.

Program Highlight for 2018-2019

  • Served 256 undergraduate students
  • 86% of program participants enrolled in 2017-28 re-enrolled at Wichita State and in the SSS-Project for 2018-2019
  • 96% of program participants maintained good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • 83% of program participants completed the year with a cumulative GPA of greater than 2.5
  • 58% of program participants completed the year with a cumulative GPA of greater than 3.0
  • 57% of participants in 2013-2014 cohort graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2018-2019 (within 6 years)

Talent Search

Since 1977, students attending targeted schools in USD 259 have come to realize the exceptional services provided by the TRIO Talent Search Program hosted by Wichita State. During the pandemic, the program has continued to provide academic services to middle school and high school students to aid in their retention, graduation, and enrollment in postsecondary institutions. Most services have been provided virtually and will continue to be offered during the 2020-21 school year.

The program staff identifies and selects 1,165 low income and potential first-generation college students for program participation. Experienced and dedicated staff provide information to students on college admissions, financial literacy, scholarships, ACT/SAT test preparation, and assistance with completing the FAFSA. Also, campus visits to colleges and universities are held throughout the year. Currently, campus visits are virtual and have generated robust student interest and participation.

The summer enrichment program provides a unique STEM focused experience for 25 rising ninth students. Instruction in math, technology, language arts, financial literacy/life skills, and theater arts has traditionally comprised the summer program. In addition, campus visits, presentations from career professionals encourage and motivate students to envision their future by formulating ideas for life after high school. Curbside pick-up meals were offered to students as the summer program was offered virtually. The summer program culminates with a talent show and academic awards ceremony. The summer program will likely continue in the same virtual format until it is safe to meet in person again.

Students attending the following target schools are selected for program participation (Brooks Magnet, Curtis, Hamilton, Jardine Magnet, Mayberry Magnet, North, Pleasant Valley, Southeast, Truesdell, and West). Walk-in students from area schools can also receive services from the program.

2019-2020 Program Highlights

  • 1,066 Student Served
  • 100% of Students Persisted and Advanced to the Next Grade Level
  • 37% of Seniors Received Assistance Completing the FAFSA and Enrolled in Postsecondary
  • 99% of Seniors Graduated with Regular and/or Rigorous Curriculum Diploma
  • 133 Students Received Tutoring During the Grant Year

Upward Bound Empowerment

Upward Bound Empowerment (UBE) is a comprehensive, year-round college preparatory program with an emphasis on identifying and serving foster care students.

The program began in October 2017 with the mission to assist low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students in their efforts to successfully complete their secondary education, while preparing them to become college graduates. UBE’s program offerings include a supportive academic year program as well as a summer college experience.

Program services and activities are designed for the following areas: academic enhancement, career exploration, financial literacy, leadership building, cultural enrichment, volunteer opportunities and life skills development.

The highly qualified staff challenges students to perform to the best of their abilities while taking into account each student’s unique needs for tutoring and postsecondary education counseling. Active participation is required in order to ensure that students achieve to their fullest potential.

UBE’s summer component is an extraordinary, life-changing experience for participants. Students engage in activities at Wichita State for six to eight weeks. Each activity is designed to emulate an authentic college experience.

Upward Bound Math Science

Upward Bound Math-Science (UBMS) program, in its 26th year at Wichita State University, serves students from schools in the target area of Kansas. UBMS hosts 74 students who boast an interest in and propensity for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Students participate in academic year and summer components, both focusing on academic preparedness and college preparation. Activities that support academic growth and non-cognitive skills are planned in an effort to remove barriers to post-secondary education and improve college graduation rates for participants.

During the summer, participants attend a curriculum-driven, residential experience. The summer program allows students to bolster interest in STEM and build proficiencies in research. Participants attend courses developed to foster critical thinking, research and experimentation, and the art of presentation.

Program Highlights for 2019-2020

  • 25 non-bridge participated in the virtual summer program component and 7 Bridge participates summer college classes
  • Collaboration efforts with Texas UB/UBMS programs with two programs: Drones Workshop and Seniors Series Workshop
  • 7 students participated in a summer game design classes
  • 14 students graduated from high school in the 2019 cohort
  • 7 UBMS students took advantage of the Summer Bridge program.  They completed the summer with an overall G.P.A of 3.51
  • Overall UBMS participants average GPA for the academic 2019-20 is 3.27

Upward Bound Wichita Prep

Upward Bound Wichita Prep (UBWP) is a comprehensive, year-round college preparatory program. Since 1965, its mission has been to assist low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students in their efforts to successfully complete their secondary education while simultaneously preparing them for the rigors of college life. Over the decades, UBWP’ unique offerings have included a supportive academic year program as well as a challenging and rewarding summer residential college experience.

Program services and activities are designed to nurture student growth in the areas of academics, career exploration, financial literacy, leadership building, cultural enrichment, and volunteer opportunities. UBWP students are challenged to perform to the best of their abilities while assessing each student’s unique needs for tutoring and postsecondary education preparation. Active participation is required in order to ensure that students achieve their potential.

UBWP’s summer residential component is an extraordinary, life-changing experience for participants. Students are in residence on the Wichita State campus for six to eight weeks. Each activity is designed to emulate an authentic college experience.

The students participating in the summer component have successfully completed the academic year component. Participants’ academic records, as well as an individual assessment, are used to design a personalized academic plan.

Veteran Upward Bound

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) at Wichita State University provides a wide array of educational services to veterans in Harvey, Butler, and Sedgwick counties. Services include financial literacy, computer literacy, tutoring, academic workshops, mentoring, and education/career planning. Program staff also refer participants to appropriate university offices and community agencies as needed.

VUB assists participants by identifying their academic needs and developing a plan of support that addresses the following:

  • Assessment of current academic skills
  • Academic skills development
  • Post-secondary enrollment
  • College retention and completion
  • Improving English and math skills
  • Strategies for study skills and test taking
  • Assistance in applying for financial aid, scholarships and GI Bill funding
  • Computer Literacy

Program Highlights

  1. Can now conduct fully virtual services (no-longer limited to in-person only)
  2. Enhanced partnerships with community organizations (931st ARW, Edward Jones, Veterans Provider’s Coalition of KS, The Phoenix Sober Active Community, HUD, KPTS Channel 8, The Gallant Few, amongst others)
  3. Held our first ever Virtual Veterans Art Show
  4. Received a funding increase for FY 20-21
  5. Enhanced the mentorship portion of the program
  6. Adopted a new online tutoring platform, by Princeton Review

Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP

In August 2015, Wichita State University was awarded a seven-year statewide GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP (KKGU) serves students in foster care and state custody. Students in grades seventh through their first year in college are served by the KKGU program. KKGU assists this target population to graduate from high school and prepares them for postsecondary education. Six service regions provide academic support and enrichment programs. KKGU goals include: academically supporting students through in-school, after-school, weekend programming and a summer program. Activities with students include: college and career exploration, college tours, tutoring, mentoring, ACT prep workshops, STEM/STEAM activities, math academy, cultural events, community service, FAFSA assistance and various financial literacy activities. These program activities are designed to educate both KKGU students and their families on the requirements for postsecondary education. The KKGU summer programs help students choose careers and explore the educational requirements of those careers. Some summer activities include: overnight leadership camps, campus visits and weekly themed programming.

KKGU also awards financial need-based scholarships to students who participated in the KKGU program. Scholarships are used as incentives to improve academic performance, high school graduation rates and efforts towards setting career goals.

2019-2020 KKGU Program Highlights:

  • 2,500 students received program services
  • 74% of high school seniors received a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • 176 high school graduates enrolled in colleges/universities
  • $560,050.00 in need-based college scholarships were awarded to students