Ask your elected officials to invest in our future - Support to keep TRiO programs alive.

Ask your elected officials to invest in our future - Support to keep TRiO programs alive.

February 26, 2010
Petition Closed
This petition had 1,691 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Jennifer Crotteau

Call to action! 

Ask our Federal Elected Officials to support TRiO programs to make college dreams a reality for first generation, low-income students and students with disabilities,

The Council for Opportunity in Education lays out the implications of the current crisis.

Loss of Nearly 200 Upward Bound Projects

During the last grant competition for Upward Bound in 2007, several historic projects — including a disproportionate number of programs at historically black institutions — lost funding. At the time, Congress was crafting a budget reconciliation bill — the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA). Under the leadership of Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), CCRAA included an amendment that provided $57 million each year for fiscal years 2008-2011 to fund 187 additional Upward Bound grants to serve approximately 12,000 students across the country.

Unlike typical TRIO funding, this mandatory money went into effect immediately — funding Upward Bound projects in the 2007-2008 academic year. Generally, TRIO appropriations are forward-funded. That is, appropriations for a particular fiscal year actually fund grants that begin during the following academic year (i.e., nearly a year after that fiscal year has begun).

The FY2011 TRIO appropriation will fund TRIO grants for academic year 2011-2012. However, because the mandatory funds for the nearly 200 Upward Bound programs provided by CCRAA went into effect immediately, the last academic year for which funds are available is 2010-2011. By failing to include additional discretionary funds to account for these programs in academic year 2011-2012, the Administration has essentially determined that it will not maintain the current number of Upward Bound projects (964 total). Rather, the Administration's FY2011 budget request only provides enough funds to support 778 Upward Bound programs in academic year 2011-2012.

Ultimately, without an increase in discretionary funding for Upward Bound in FY2011, about 200 Upward Bound programs serving 12,000 students will be lost.

Unfunded Mandate in Talent Search

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires Talent Search to provide services to support students' successful completion of rigorous postsecondary curricula. It mandates that Prior Experience Points be awarded on this basis. We know that this is a significant change that will require a host of additional staff and services, such as afterschool and Saturday sessions, online tutoring, etc. The current per-student cost of $393 will not be sufficient for these purposes. In fact, Talent Search personnel have indicated that the per-student cost for Talent Search must increase to at least $1,200 (or $807 above the current cost for each Talent Search student) to allow programs to meet this new prior experience criterion.

In spite of this knowledge, the Administration has opted to level-fund Talent Search and thereby impose an unfunded mandate or allow significant cuts in the number of Talent Search students served. Without changes to the authorizing legislation or additional appropriations, many Talent Search programs will be unable to meet this new criterion.

 Continued Reduction of Students and Services in All Other Programs

 Whether competing this year or not, all TRIO programs will be forced to stretch the same dollars as they have for the last several years. Between FY2006 and FY2010, inflation rose about 8%; meanwhile, TRIO lost over 39,000 students and $66.8 million in funding due to rising costs.1 With more Americans turning to higher education during this economic downturn, the need for increased services and support is greater than ever.

Despite vocal support of TRIO as both a Senator and presidential candidate as well as consistent reiteration of the goal to emerge first in the world for college completion by 2020, President Obama has failed to support increased investment in TRIO. We must push Congress to remedy the problems outlined above in their FY2011 appropriations legislation. Without such support, TRIO may not be there to support the many students who need our help in the future.

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