The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs (NMU offers three programs) targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

TRIO has a progressive history. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960's, the term "TRIO" was coined to describe these federal programs.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program was added in 1986 and in 1990, the Department created the Upward Bound Math/Science Program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. TRIO has a track record of quality programs and practices that have been proven to work.

Each year NMU receives over $1 million in federal grants to offer three TRIO programs (Upward Bound-Math Science, Student Support Services, and the McNair Scholar Program).