TRIO Student Support

TRIO Student Support Services is a unique resource designed to assist eligible students. To qualify for TRIO, you must meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are a first-generation college student (neither parent/legal guardian has earned a four-year bachelor's degree).
  • You have a financial need that meets income guidelines (as defined by the Department of Education).
  • You have a documented physical or learning disability.

As a participant in the TRIO program, you will have free access to academic course selection and advising, transfer guidance, financial guidance and college success strategies, all designed to answer the questions and meet the needs of students like you. Students who participate in TRIO are more than twice as likely to achieve their academic goals.

You will work one-on-one with a TRIO advisor who will serve as your primary contact point and source of information on goal setting, course selection, transfer assistance, career and major exploration and financial aid. As long as you remain in good standing and are enrolled in classes at Oakton, you are eligible for TRIO services until you graduate or transfer.

You will also be required to participate in two TRIO- or Oakton-sponsored events and meet with your TRIO advisor at least twice a semester. The first meeting should occur within three weeks of the semester beginning, and the second should occur prior to registering for your next semester.

Contact TRIO at to set up a time to meet with a staff member.

"TRIO has been such a huge help to me personally because of the immense amount of support and personalized direction that you get from your TRIO advisor. You always get great feedback and get your questions answered and as a first-generation student, I always have questions related to college." - Lia Moreno, Theater Education / Psychology Major

TRIO Services

As a TRIO participant, you'll have access to the following services.

Academic Advising

TRIO advisors provide academic guidance to help you select courses to complete an associate degree at Oakton or transfer to a four-year college or university. TRIO staff also can help you develop effective study strategies and explore career and major options.

Transfer Assistance

You can get assistance exploring options at four-year colleges and universities, arranging visits to open houses and completing financial aid and college applications. TRIO staff may accompany you to meet admission representatives and department chairs at nearby institutions. You will be able to go on yearly, organized trips to visit in-state public and private colleges and universities.

College Success Strategies

TRIO collaborates with campus partners to host a series of workshops and provide individual consultations for you to enhance your knowledge of attitudes, behaviors and skills necessary to be successful in college. If you're eligible, TRIO offers a one-time, three-credit tuition waiver in a COL 101, CIS 101 or three of the four credits for CIS 103. These courses may assist you in further developing college success skills or computer literacy necessary to support your success.

Tutoring Resources

All tutoring is available through Oakton’s Learning Center. Additionally, TRIO students will have access to remote tutoring services provided by

Financial Assistance and Scholarship Search

Applying for financial assistance to help pay for college can seem overwhelming. TRIO advisors will take the mystery out of financial aid paperwork by helping you complete the FAFSA and other financial aid forms required for federal and state assistance. In addition, advisors will assist you in researching and applying for various scholarships. Involved and qualified TRIO students are eligible for TRIO-specific scholarships on a yearly basis. 

Cultural Events and Activities

TRIO sponsors student leadership conferences and trips for experiential learning to local theaters, museums and musical events and even pays for your admission to the Oakton Performing Arts Center.

Technology Assistance

If you need assistance working with or accessing technology, TRIO will provide support.

Sign Up For TRIO

To learn more about TRIO, please fill out the online interest form.

To apply, fill out the TRIO Request Form and email it to

Once you've submitted your TRIO Request Form, you will be contacted to meet with a TRIO Staff Member to discuss your educational plans and learn more about the services TRIO has to offer. You should then complete the TRIO Student Self-Assessment and bring it to your follow-up appointment.

"TRIO Has taken the guesswork out of school life. I now have a solid degree and transfer plan, as well as the resources to work through difficulties with school as they come up." - Stephen Lahart, Business Major

Steve Aguilar
"TRIO is more than student advising. We help with academic planning, offer guidance through academic probation and suspension, help with transferring and provide college and personal financial literacy education through workshops. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shop for first-generation college students, students from low-income households and students with documented disabilities."

Steve Aguilar

Advisor, TRIO Student Support Services

TRIO Interest Form

TRIO Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

TRIO Programs are a set of college opportunity programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education 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 2,000 programs nationwide.

TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other support necessary for educational access and retention.

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

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

The U.S. Department of Education funds TRIO.

No. The TRIO program provides FREE services for eligible students.

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 help you figure out the process.

You 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 2900). You can also email and a TRIO Request for Services form will be emailed to you.

To be eligible for TRIO services, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must meet AT LEAST ONE of the following criteria:

Yes, TRIO will assist you in understanding the process and provide assistance as needed. TRIO also sponsors trips to area colleges and universities each year.

TRIO strongly encourages you to be as active with the program as possible. Students who stay in close contact with their advisors tend to do better academically and feel more connected to the College. As a TRIO participant, you should schedule regular appointments to meet with your TRIO advisor to discuss your current and future plans.

No. TRIO collaborates with Oakton's Access and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) staff to understand the accommodations available to students who have a documented disability but does not provide accommodations directly. Contact the ADRC to request accommodations.

TRIO has been helping first-generation, qualified income students and students with disabilities at Oakton since 1990. Statistics show that being part of TRIO can truly make a difference.

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.

Your TRIO advisor should be your primary academic advisor. TRIO advisors provide individual support to students and will work with you to ensure you are on the path to your educational goals.

TRIO Staff Contact Information

For general questions about TRIO, please email

Steve Aguilar
TRIO Advisor
Skokie, Learning Center A135

Mary Kate Moskal
TRIO Advisor
Des Plaines, Enrollment Center
2nd Floor - Room 2919

Yasmeen Ragab
TRIO Administrative Assistant
Des Plaines, Enrollment Center
2nd Floor- Room 2901

Esperanza Salgado-Rodriguez
TRIO Manager
Des Plaines, Enrollment Center
2nd Floor - Room 2918