August 29, 2018
As you know, Congress provided a 6% funding increase to the Federal TRIO programs for the 2018-19 program year. Almost immediately, the U.S. Department of Education reduced the amount of funding available across TRIO programs by absorbing two-thirds of this funding increase into a special, one-year allocation to Upward Bound programs for STEM initiatives. The House of Representatives expressed its concern with this decision (.pdf) in language accompanying the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. Several Senators also expressed concern in a joint letter to the Secretary.
Despite these clear messages from Capitol Hill, the Department continues to ignore the intent of Congress. Today, COE learned that the Department is now requiring projects to serve additional students as a condition of receiving a 4.25% increase in funding for program year 2018-19. This is in direct contradiction to the stated intention of both House and Senate appropriators who understand that such action only leads to the continued erosion in the quality of programs available to TRIO students. That is why they provided a $60 million increase in the first place — to allow for enhancement of services to students who need support the most.
COE will work with Congress to assure that this decision is reversed.
It will be a long fight.