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SUNY GCC - Genesee Community College

TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC)

What is TRIO?

The TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) is a FREE TRIO EOC program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and sponsored by SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC). Our department is made up of six professionals who are passionate about providing educational opportunities to the members of our community. We are knowledgeable and skilled in the fields of high school equivalencies, higher education applications and processes, state and federal financial aid, and scholarship opportunities available at the local, state, and national levels.

While we are sponsored by SUNY GCC, our program is separate from SUNY GCC Admissions and we do not recruit on behalf of the college, per our grant laws and regulations. Our participants can and are encouraged to apply to and attend any college or school they wish!

What are TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs)?

“The Educational Opportunity Centers program provides counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. The program also provides services to improve the financial and economic literacy of participants. An important objective of the program is to counsel participants on financial aid options, including basic financial planning skills, and to assist in the application process. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.” – 

The Educational Opportunity Center programs were enacted under the 1972 Amendments of the Higher Education Act of 1965. EOC is authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which also authorizes the Federal Student Aid programs.

AEOC is one of only three TRIO EOCs (different from SUNY EOCs) in New York State and the only one outside of New York City. AEOC is also one of 142 TRIO EOC programs across the country. EOC grants are awarded in five-year terms. In this past grant cycle, TRIO EOC programs received $48 million nationally to provide free services for almost 200,000 adults. AEOC is funded to serve over 1,000 students in our target area each year. –

Trio Programs

“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 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 postbaccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.” – U.S. Department of Education

Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) Services

If you believe you are in need of a listed service, fill out our free, quick, and easy application. Applications can be completed from any mobile device or computer and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Once your application is submitted, please allow 1-2 business days for one of our outreach specialists to contact you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the application.

Who We Serve

Participants must be:

  • U.S. Citizens OR persons able to provide either:
    • An A-number
    • Other proof of being in the process of obtaining citizenship
  • High school students and/or adults interested in further education
  • Residents of and/or students attending/considering school in one of the following counties:
    • Genesee County
    • Livingston County
    • Orleans County
    • Wyoming County
    • Allegany County
    • Cattaraugus County

The majority of participants we work with are first-generation students (neither parent has a 4-year/bachelor’s degree) who meet certain income guidelines. (Note: These numbers are based on “Taxable Income”)

Common populations we serve:

  • Current high school juniors and seniors
  • Current college students
  • College students looking to transfer to another institution
  • Veterans and family members of veterans or active-duty military
  • Adults who had previously dropped out of high school and would like to earn their diploma
  • Adults who had previously dropped out of college and would like to earn their degree
  • Adults looking to advance in their current job or to change careers
  • Individuals who recently moved and are new to the community
  • Adults currently enrolled in High School Equivalency programs who are planning to go on to a college or trade/technical school
  • Unemployed adults and adults who were recently laid off
  • Single parents
  • Incarcerated or recently incarcerated individuals

College or Trade School Application Enrollment Assistance

  • Researching potential programs of study and coursework
  • Researching various schools’ admissions policies and criteria
  • Researching High School Equivalency options available to you
  • SAT and ACT test registration
  • Retrieving academic transcripts
  • Completing college applications
  • Filling out necessary enrollment paperwork, including Certificates of Residency

Financial Aid Counseling

  • Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Completing state financial aid applications, including New York’s TAP Application
  • Understanding various financial aid options available including:
    • Pell Grants
    • SEOG
    • TAP Grant
    • Excelsior Scholarship
    • Subsidized Student Loans
    • Unsubsidized Student Loans
    • Federal Work Study
  • Explanations of aid available for full-time students and part-time students
  • Completing school-specific documentation and verification for financial aid
  • Searching and applying for various scholarships
  • Retrieving financial aid transcripts from previously attended institutions
  • Applying for financial aid appeals to regain aid-eligibility when it has been lost

Veterans Education Benefits

  • Montgomery G.I. Bill
  • Veteran-specific grants and scholarships
  • Veteran community resources

Career Exploration

  • Career assessments that help you match your skills, talents, and ambitions to careers that are available to you
  • Workshops on training opportunities and specific careers
  • Exposure to labor market information including salary levels, job requirements, and qualifications/educational level necessary
  • Research on how to utilize educational opportunities to achieve your career goals

What is Taxable Income?(AEOC)

On the AEOC application, you will be asked to disclose the range of your taxable income, which is required per our grant regulations. If students are determined independent per financial aid standards (typically all persons under 24 with no spouse or dependents), they will need to use their parent(s)/guardian(s)’ taxable income and get a parent/guardian signature for verification.

Taxable income is the amount of income used to calculate how much tax an individual owes the government in a given tax year. This is different from your salary or your gross income. In almost every situation, taxable income is less than your gross income. Taxable income can be found on either the IRS Form 1040 on Line 11b OR the NYS Form 201-IT on line 37 or 38. If you cannot readily find this form, you can calculate your taxable income using the formula below:

Gross Income – Above Line Deductions – Below Line Deductions = Taxable Income


Gross Income includes, but is not limited to, salaries, wages, bonuses, tips, rental income, some government benefits (i.e. unemployment, disability, etc.), dividends, capital gains, interest income, fringe benefits, royalties, and retirement distributions. If you are married and filed your 2019 taxes jointly, you must include all your spouse’s income as well.

Note: Any income that is explicitly tax-exempt does not count towards this number (i.e. child support payments, veterans’ benefits, welfare, workers’ comp, SSI, etc.)

Above the Line Deductions can include, but are not limited to, rental deductions, some business deductions, stock losses, moving expenses, student loan interest paid, and alimony.

Below the Line Deductions are either standard or itemized. Typically, individuals only itemize their deductions if it will add up to more than the standard deduction.

Example Standard Deduction Amounts

Person A and Person B are married and filed their 2019 taxes jointly. Person A makes $20,000 a year and Person B makes $35,000 a year with no additional income, making their gross income $55,000. They have $0 in above the line deductions and took the standard deduction of $24,400. Therefore, their estimated taxable income is $30,600.