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Bill Introduced to Strengthen College TRIO Programs

Four Democrat and Republican Senators have introduced legislation that would reauthorize and further streamline the federal TRIO Programs that provide support to first-generation and low-income students to graduate from college.

Introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT), the Educational Opportunity and Success Act would strengthen the TRIO Programs process and eliminate unnecessary requirements, making it easier for educational institutions to reach out to students in need.

If passed, the bill would remove administrative burdens to ease and update the application process, and would require the U.S. Department of Education to increase its notification period from 45 days to 90 days to allow more time for students to submit an application.

“Congress created the TRIO Programs because it recognized that low-income, first-generation students often face significant financial and societal obstacles to accessing and achieving success in higher education,” Collins said in a statement. 

The bill would further reauthorize funds for the TRIO Programs through 2025, establish more reasonable guidelines for notice of pending grant competitions, and institute common-sense guidelines for TRIO applications.

Interested applicants would also undergo at least one virtual and interactive training to reach out to more people.

“I have long supported the TRIO Programs and worked to ensure that they are reaching the students who most need them,” Collins added. “So many students in Maine and across the country have benefited from the life-changing academic and supportive services that these programs provide.”

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