The Center is a set of federally-funded college opportunity programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.

The Center serves eligible participants who are low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate degree.

The Center provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial literacy and guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access, retention, and graduation. We provide direct support services for students, as well as relevant national training for directors and their staff.


An environment where every individual can fulfill their educational objectives.


The mission of the Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (The Center) is to provide traditional and innovative educational opportunities to a diverse community through targeted services and research that promote personal success.


The History of the Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach

  • 1978 - William W. Sullivan, Ph.D. and an alumnus of a Chicago TRIO Talent Search Program, is hired at UNLV as the director for the Special Services for Disadvantaged Students Program which was UNLV's only TRIO program that year. The funded proposal was only 17 pages long.
  • 1980 - Sullivan wrote the Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services grants. All three grants were funded. That year, TRIO grants were funded for a three-year cycle instead of two years and each proposal was 50 pages long. For comparison, in the late '80s, funded TRIO proposals reached 500 pages each. The office name was changed from Student Services Office to the Department for Academic Advancement (DAA) and the rest is history.

The First Year that TRIO, GEAR UP, and Title III Grants Were Funded at UNLV

  • 1966 - Talent Search 
  • 1967 - Upward Bound 
  • 1970 - Special Services for Disadvantage Students (Now known as Student Support Services)
  • 1972 - The TRIO Programs moved to Flora Duncan Humanities Building (FDH) from the Student Union Building 
  • 1980 - TRIO Office named Department for Academic Advancement (DAA) 
  • 1994 - DAA moved to the Student Services Complex Building (SSC) first floor Rm. 143, (2004 second floor Rm. 201), (2011 third floor Rm. 301)
  • 1999 - The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. Upward Bound Math/Science (UB/MS). DAA Moved to the Tropicana offices Complex (All but McNair & SSS) 
  • 2000 - DAA was classified as a UNLV Research Center on April 6th. The Department for Academic Advancement changed its name to The Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (CAEO) 
  • 2002 - Educational Opportunity Center (EOC). Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) 
  • 2003 - Training Program for Federal TRIO programs (TRIO Training Institute)
  • 2015 - Student Support Services - STEM. Title III AANAPISI Program - Asian American, Native American Pacific Islander, Serving Institutions
  • 2016 - Title III AANAPISI STEM Program - Asian American, Native American Pacific Islander, Serving Institutions
  • 2017 - NSF-LSAMP, National Science Foundation, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation

The First Year of Funding for the Federal Government Programs

  • 1964 - UB
  • 1965 - TS
  • 1968 - SSS
  • 1972 - EOC
  • 1976 - TRIO Training
  • 1986 - McNair
  • 1990 - UB/MS
  • 1998 - TRIO Dissemination
  • 1998 - GEAR UP
  • 2008 - Title III AANAPISI
  • 2017 - NSF-LSAMP

The Center's Origins of TRIO and GEAR UP

TRIO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968. Together, this “trio” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students. By 1998, the TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs had grown to nine, adding Educational Opportunity Centers and Veterans Upward Bound in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math/Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

GEAR UP, the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2, Chapter 2.

Created by Congress in 1998, GEAR UP is a federal grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP provides six- and seven-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. This federal program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.