Started here in 1965
TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. More than 900,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities are served by over 3,100 programs nationally. Within the state of Texas, TRIO serves over 62,000 students. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. TRIO also provides direct support services for students, and relevant training for directors and staff.
The TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America. 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 which was signed on the Texas State University Campus. As such, Texas State is recognized as the birthplace of TRIO programs in the TRIO community.
In addition, 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.
TRIO Continues to Grow
April 29, 2019 - TRIO Projects Granted 4.5% Increase for 2019-2020; STEM Initiative Extended to Talent Search Projects
Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education issued Grant Award Notifications (GANs) to TRIO Upward Bound projects for the 2019-2020 program year The GANs reflected a 4.5% increase in each project’s base funding. There is no expectation that any program would be required to increase the number of students served. As Congress provided TRIO with a $50 million funding increase for FY 2019, which funds the 2019-2020 program year, this 4.5 percent increase — when applied to all TRIO programs — would consume about $44 million to $45 million in spending. This would mean that $45 million of the $50 million increase in funds appropriated for TRIO in FY 19 would be accounted for. Also, it appears that the STEM initiative that allowed Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science projects to apply for $40,000 (totaling $24 million) for STEM supplemental activities in FY 2018 will be extended to Talent Search projects in FY 2019. COE will host a call in the coming weeks to help advise Talent Search projects how best to proceed in applying for these funds. Details regarding this call will be shared soon.
Meanwhile, tomorrow Congress will turn its attention to FY 2020 as the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations “marks up” its FY 2020 bill at 4pm (Eastern). Just a few weeks ago, the Subcommittee heard testimony from COE’s inaugural Thomas R. Wolanin Congressional Intern, Brandy Dailey, an alumna of the TRIO Talent Search program at the University of Arkansas, about the importance of increasing funding for TRIO.
On Wednesday, July 17, a bipartisan group of House Representatives introduced H.R. 3800, the Educational Opportunities and Success Act to reauthorize TRIO in the Higher Education Act. This legislation, which serves as a companion piece to a bill introduced last month in the Senate, takes important steps to protect TRIO applicants in the grant review process while also easing burdens for programs and students by streamlining TRIO eligibility criteria to align with other student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. A true demonstration of the unifying nature of TRIO, this bill was authored by a broad cross-section of legislators. Specifically, it was introduced by Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Warren Davidson (R-OH-08), Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Mike Simpson (R-ID-02), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), and Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15).
“As Co-Chair of the TRIO Caucus, I am proud to introduce this bi-partisan legislation along with my esteemed colleagues,” said Representative Moore. “TRIO changed my life. I came to college as a 19-year-old single mother and TRIO gave the resources I needed to be successful. Without TRIO, I wouldn’t be a Member of Congress. Being a Member of Congress means that I can now pay it forward and support the program that for so long supported me.”
Representative Warren Davidson shared, “Rejecting [TRIO] applications for formatting errors is unreasonable. Our bill eliminates bureaucracy and makes common-sense improvements to ensure low-income students have access to the resources they need to succeed.”
This evening, congressional leaders released the text of two massive spending bills aimed at funding all agencies of the federal government through the remainder of the federal fiscal year. In the legislation funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (“LHHS”), TRIO programs received a $30 million or 3% increase for a final appropriation of $1.09 billion for FY 2020. (The legislation also includes a $5 million funding increase for GEAR UP and raises the maximum Pell Grant award by $150 for a $6,345 award for the 2020-2021 academic year.)
The report language to the bill also includes language addressing the pending Student Support Services grant competition, stating:
The Department is directed to allocate any grant funding not needed for non-competitive continuation awards or for programs up for re-competition in fiscal year 2020 to provide inflationary increases for current grantees and to increase the number and size of new awards in the Student Support Services grant competition. The Department is further directed to include proposed funding levels for each of the TRIO programs in the operating plan required under section 516 of this Act. There is great concern and disappointment that the Department has yet to issue a notice inviting applications for new awards for TRIO Student Support Services grants. The Department is directed to publish such notice inviting applications for new awards for TRIO Student Support Services grants no later than December 30, 2019 and take steps necessary to award funding as early as possible before the beginning of the academic year. (emphasis added)
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to pass the funding bills on Tuesday. The appropriations measures are then expected to move onto the Senate for passage before the current funding measure — the continuing resolution — expires on Friday. The White House has signaled an intent to sign the legislation.
In a narrow budget environment in which House Representatives, in particular, had to shave $10 billion from their LHHS bill in order to meet the spending caps imposed by last summer’s budget agreement, this gain is an important victory for TRIO programs and students. Our entire community is to be commended for their continuing work to educate legislators about the life-changing impact of TRIO.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It includes $12.56 billion to colleges, based mostly on their share of students with Pell grants. Colleges must use at least half (at least $6.28 billion) for direct emergency aid to students, including “grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.” Colleges can use the rest of the funding (up to $6.28 billion) broadly to “defray expenses for institutions of higher education, such as lost revenue, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education.” Update April 9, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Education has released the allocations, application process and guidance for institutions applying for these emergency funds here.
Congress is currently crafting a fourth COVID-19 stimulus recovery bill. In order to ensure that we receive direct aid to our programs in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill, we ask the TRIO community to stay in contact with their Congressional offices to convey the immediate needs of TRIO students and the ways your programs are best positioned to meet those needs in a timely manner. Our mission in the immediate future is to ensure that TRIO's request is included in the next COVID-19 recovery bill, which Congress could take up by the end of April. Our legislative requests have been re-tailored to the focus of this bill and are highlighted below.
We are asking Congress to:
- Provide $250 million to increase TRIO capacity by 15% across all TRIO programs, translating into serving an additional 330,000 low-income, first-generation students, students with disabilities, veterans, and unemployed adults. Included in that figure is also a request for $32 million for EOC to increase program capacity by 50%, and $54 million for the Talent Search program to increase capacity by 25%.
- Provide $200 million immediately to all TRIO programs for technology and Internet so students can complete coursework online and connect to support staff; and
- Tighten broad waiver language in the COVID-19 Phase 3 legislation Congress passed last week, to prevent repurposing TRIO funds.
Texas State University has 6 TRIO Programs to Serve You
SSS Student Support Services & SSS STEM
TS TALENT SEARCH - Austin / San Marcos
UB Upward Bound - Del Valle / San Marcos
2020 brings change
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