About Us

Who We Are

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico. Its membership includes more than 1,000 colleges and agencies. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Over a million low-income students and students with disabilities each year receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.

Federal TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans' Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) help students to overcome class, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education.

TRIO services include — assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic assistance in high school or assistance to reenter high school or college.

The work of educational opportunity organizations has contributed significant accomplishments.

  • an estimated 5 million students graduating from college;
  • the integration of more than 3,100 TRIO programs into college campuses, serving more than 800,000 students (two-thirds of whom come from families with incomes under $37,650 — family of four);
  • the establishment of performance standards that are subject to specific outcome measures. Each program's continued funding is dependent upon meeting quantifiable objectives related to college entrance and graduation rates;
  • increased national awareness of equal educational opportunity issues and diversity in colleges and universities; and leveraged $1.06 billion in FY 2019 to support TRIO Programs (up from $174.9 in 1985)


Achieve college access and success for low-income students, first-generation students, and students with disabilities.


Every young person and adult has an equal opportunity to prepare for, attend, and graduate from college. Graduation from any category of postsecondary institution is achievable and not limited by economic status, family background, or disability.

Who is Served

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes under $37,650, where neither parent graduated from college. More than 3,100 TRIO programs currently serve more than 812,000 low-income students. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12.

For more information (Vision, Approach, etc.) about the Council for Opportunity in Education, please click here Document is available for download (.pdf).