The Loyola Marymount University Upward Bound Program is one of over 900 Upward Bound (UB) projects across the nation, which are part of the federally-funded TRIO programs. The purpose of these educational opportunity programs is to increase high school graduation and college enrollment rates among traditionally underrepresented groups: first-generation, low-income and disabled students.

The history of TRIO is progressive. It began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second pre-college 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 to serve undergraduate students and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960s, the term "TRIO" was coined to describe these three federal educational equity programs, and the label has persisted.

Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 added the fourth program to the TRIO group by authorizing the Educational Opportunity Centers for adult students who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. Amendments in 1986 established the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program to prepare TRIO students for doctoral studies, and in 1990, the Department of Education created the Upward Bound Math/Science program to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 authorized the TRIO Dissemination Partnership program to encourage the replication of successful practices of TRIO programs. Finally, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 amended the Student Support Services (SSS) program to permit the use of program funds for direct financial assistance (Grant Aid) for current SSS participants who are receiving Federal Pell Grants.

The legislative requirements for all Federal TRIO Programs can be found in the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2. Specific legislation and requirements for the Upward Bound Grant Aid can be found in Public Law 106-554.