TRiO: Helping Students Succeed

Cishella Durling: Hi everyone! Welcome to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series, my name is Cishella Durling, and I will be your host today. I am very excited for you all to meet a Ashyya Robinson, who is the Director of TRiO, Student Support Services and today we are going to be talking about TRiO and all of the cool things that are encompassed in this organization. So, I'm going to go right on in Ashyya, if you're OK with that, and ask you my first question: What is TRiO?

Ashyya Robinson: Thank you, thank you for asking. Yes. So, TRiO is actually federal programs that stems from all the way to middle school to support students all the way to college. And so, there are numerous TRiO programs. TRiO is not an acronym, the reason why TRiO gets its name is because it started off as TRiO Upward Bound, TRiO Talent Search, and TRiO Student Support Services. And then from there, there is now 8 TRiO programs. So, what is TRiO? We are here to serve disadvantaged students, like I said, from middle school all the way to college level. And so, my program is the TRiO Student Support Services, and we support our college students here at UofL and we're here to support first generation, low-income, and students with disabilities. And so, we are here to provide that individual support through career, personal, financial, and of course academics. And so that is kind of a brief answer to, what is TRiO.

Cishella Durling: And thank you. So, it sounds like there is a whole bunch of demographics that TRiO serves. And so yeah, it makes sense that you would do a whole bunch of different types of work. So, why would a student benefit from working with TRiO?

Ashyya Robinson: So the benefit of being in part of TRiO is first, our students have to be either first generation, which just means that their parent or guardian did not attend college—or not necessarily attend college, but receive a bachelor's degree before they turned 18 years of age; or be a low-income student; or a student with disability. And so, if a student meets one of those 3 criteria, then that student would definitely benefit from TRiO through having additional support here on this campus. The downfall is that we do only serve 144 students each year, so it's a very highly selective need of seeing which students are really needing the support. So other benefits are that our students do receive priority registration, they receive free printing on campus, they will receive additional advising—so, they will have a TRiO advisor that will be able to come to and those conversations can get pretty deep. They're helping them with personal, financial, any academic concerns. So, all around as they really get to know that individual student. We also provide cultural trips, and so we were able to take students to get exposure to other things. And also helping students to understand Graduate School, trying to push them to continue on their collegiate experience through postgrad. So that’s a lot. Also, leadership opportunities within our program and we have a student Advisory Board, and we have a of bunch of workshops and resources that we give our students. So, we are really going over how to be successful in the classroom or financial tips to help with personal finances, also FASFA scholarships, we do have two scholarships that we give out to our students each year, and so it's an all-around inclusive program that is literally designed to help support those students who may not know the route of how to navigate college. So, we're here until you graduate. We support those students for all their four years.

Cishella Durling: But that's a that's wonderful that there are so many benefits, and I'm sure the students really, really appreciate all of those things that they're learning and embodying from TRiO. What are a few resources that TRiO can connect these students with.

Ashyya Robinson: Yes. So, we really do connect our students with other campus partners through our workshops that we have. And so, we are always in partnership with maybe counseling center. We do talk about mental health. We are in partnership with financial aid when it comes to how to deal with FASFA. Also, we are connecting with Community banks, the Commonwealth Credit Union. People are coming in to give these resources to our students, and also, there's exposure resources to leadership opportunities as I was talking about in the last question. So, some of our students are allowed to —able to go into professional development, they go to conferences and so they are also plugged in two other networks. I think the biggest resource for TRiO is that you are now part of the TRiO network. So it’s a TRiO family. A TRiO is just bigger. Like I said, is bigger than our program, so there's a resource in general, like other TRiO alums, those who are a part of this big network of support. And I will also say that the resource in general is just a good network across the whole campus. So, we're always trying to partner with somebody —bringing people in to get exposure to our students.

Cishella Durling: That's fantastic. Yeah, sometimes that is one of the biggest benefits of joining an organization is that they collaborate with some of the other organizations that you know, it's so easy to say, hey, you know you're over here and we're going to pull you in and you can help us with this and help the students, and it really helps students create a bigger network. So that's awesome. Now, if a student is interested and they feel like they qualify and they meet the demographics, what is that application process like?

Ashyya Robinson: Yes. So, our application actually stays open. It stays open because there's always potentially students in it. When I say in and out of the program, people like graduate in December and then May, so we always just keep our application open. You can find that application on our website. You can literally just type in the search engine on UofL’s website. You can type in TRiO. Granted, there are other TRiO programs on campus, I do want to give credit to our Upward Bound programs that we have in our talent search, but if you just type in TRiO, the first one will be tailored to TRiO, student support services. So, you can click on that link and then that will be our website. You can see all the information and more information about TRiO, student Support services on there and how to apply tab. You can click that, and you can apply. And that is honestly just the way that you the easiest way to apply is through our website.

Cishella Durling: And we always appreciate those easy, painless applications and those processes that are smooth and accessible as well. So, it sounds like TRiO is an organization on campus that benefits a lot of students, and I'm really excited to kind of get TRiO’s name out there a little bit more. And it is kind of a bummer that there's such a restriction on the amount of students. But of course, the students who are in the program are getting amazing benefits and amazing opportunities. So, any of my listeners who feel like you might qualify if your first-generation student, of low income, or have a disability, I would encourage you to at least go to the website and apply. It's definitely worth it, and who knows, you might get more out of it than you maybe realized. So, thank you so much Ashyya. I really appreciate you sharing some information about Trio. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Ashyya Robinson: Actually like to add about the disability piece, I'm glad you kind of mentioned that again. Yeah. So, disability is any disability as long as it’s documented and as long as you can show proof that it's a disability. So, learning physical, mental, medical, all the above, any disability.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. Well, thank you again and we're going to go ahead and wrap this up with did you know you can get involved in a variety of student government events at Alright everybody, that's it for today's episode and we will catch you next time.

ERRATA: The correct URL for the SGA Get Involved page is


Student Affairs

SAC W302

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Office Hours

M-F 8:30am to 5:00 pm

No holiday hours


tel (502) 852-6933

tel (502) 852-5844

Inclusion Statement