TRIO Talent Search is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and has been in existence on the Illinois campus since September 1, 2011. Talent Search is designed to create and sustain a college-going culture for its target schools and target areas and to improve parents’ capacity to prepare their child/children for college. Talent Search identifies and assists eligible individuals from the cities of Champaign, Decatur, and Urbana who have the potential to succeed in higher education.

Student Persistence
Senior Graduation
College Enrollment


We envision community and family partnerships that create and sustain an academic culture where all college prep participants are college-ready and fully prepared to enroll in top-ranked national colleges and universities and graduating from those institutions in 4-5 years.

On behalf of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U.S. Department of Education, to fulfill this vision, program leadership will facilitate partnerships with target schools and families and community, faith-based, veteran, and other agencies that share the college prep vision and mission.


The mission of the program is to help participants graduate from high school, enroll in college the fall after graduating high school or completing an equivalent program (e.g., GED), and complete their postsecondary education.

Services are designed to:

  • Keep participants in school until they graduate
  • Help individuals re-enter school or an equivalent program (e.g., GED)
  • Help participants graduate high school
  • Help participants re-enter enroll in college the fall after they graduate high school or complete an equivalent program
  • Provide sufficient college-readiness foundation that leads to college completion

Specific services include, for example:

  • Assistance in completing college admission and financial aid applications, including FAFSA
  • Academic advice and assistance in secondary school and college course selection
  • Assistance in preparing for college entrance examinations
  • High quality tutorial services
  • Information on the full range of federal student financial aid programs and benefits and on resources for locating public and private scholarships
  • Financial/Economic Literacy
  • Guidance on and assistance with entry into postsecondary education
  • Exposure to college campuses, cultural events, academic programs, and other sites or activities not usually available to disadvantaged youth
  • Workshops and counseling (non-clinical) for parents of students served
  • Publicizing the availability of financial aid and assists participants with the postsecondary application process.

Program Eligibility and Target Schools

Applications are accepted year-round and participants are selected without regard to race/ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, political beliefs, veteran status, or other personal characteristics. You must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident with current documentation attached to be eligible.

Current schools served:

  • Centennial High
  • Central High
  • Edison Middle
  • Eisenhower High
  • Franklin Middle
  • Jefferson Middle
  • MacArthur High
  • Stephen Decatur Middle
  • Urbana High
  • Urbana Middle


Only completed application packets will be considered, so make sure to complete all portions of the application. 

TRIO Talent Search Contact Info

Have a question about TRIO Talent Search? Feel free to reach out!


Interested in applying? Scan the QR Code Below!

Talent Search Application QR Code