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It’s Showtime! Here’s How to Join the Virtual Policy Seminar 2021.


March 18, 2021

COE's 40th Policy Seminar is hosted on the virtual conference platform OpenWater. Login using the same email address you used to register at (https://coenet-ps2021.secure-platform.com/a/).

Participants can live stream the entire conference or specific sessions via the OpenWater video platform, in virtual meeting rooms powered by Zoom.


You must be registered for the 2021 COE Policy Seminar to participate. You will be able to log-in using a single sign-on credential to the conference hub. To make the most of your time 'on-site,' take an hour or so before the conference begins to play around in the event hub. Your experience is in your control.

  • 1) Click on the LOGIN menu item at the top of the page to be directed to the login page.
  • 2) Enter the email associated with your registration.
  • 3) Please check your e-mail inbox for login instructions. The platform will automatically send you unique information to access the virtual conference platform and session gallery.
  • 4) Once you click the link in that email, you will be automatically redirected into the session gallery.



The session gallery is your hallway to the conference. Participants and speakers will be able to browse through the schedule and find the session they wish to join. Here's how to find and join a session under the Virtual Sessions menu.

  • 1) Click the title of the session you wish to join.
  • 2) If you arrive early, you'll see the session button will not yet be active. The page will refresh every 15 seconds and will change to 'Join Session' when the meeting room opens, and you can enter.

By default, all participants will be in listen-only mode for most sessions. For some sessions, you will be unable to unmute yourself, however. We encourage participation via the Q&A box during most sessions.

Now that you're in, enjoy! Block off time in your day to attend live and interact with other attendees and have your questions answered directly by the conference speakers. Treat a virtual conference as you would an in-person conference with respect to your calendar and task load. Prioritize the time to be truly present in the experience, engage with the sessions and presenters, and use the Q&A box and other networking tools regularly to connect with other participants.

Experiencing difficulty during the conference? During a session, you can use the chat box if you're having any technical difficulties. If you have any technical difficulties outside of the sessions, contact John Hernandez and Angelica Vialpando at (conference.support@coenet.org).

Then engage with us on social media using #COEPS2021. Network with more than 900 college access professionals from hundreds of institutions nationwide and share your big ideas during educational sessions, Hill visits and other opportunities on social media using the official hashtag #COEPS2021.


Download the official Policy Seminar virtual background. Zoom's virtual background feature doesn't require a green screen and is handy if you have a messy room you want to hide during a meeting. Make Policy Seminar as fun or professional as you want with our official #COEPS2021 Zoom backgroundsWhite, Red and Blue.

Click here for instructions on how to upload use the virtual background during after-hours networking, Hill visits, and other events when Policy Seminar participants will be on screen.

Please note our community guidelines. Some of the goals of this virtual conference are to encourage strong and mutually beneficial ties between college access professionals and to stimulate interest and enhance involvement through increased opportunities for engagement. In order to meet these, it's important for participants to feel like they are in a safe place that is populated by people with shared interests. As such, we request that you read and adhere to the guidelines that follow.

  • Treat others online as you would treat them in real life. Be tolerant towards others' viewpoints; respectfully disagree when opinions do not align.
  • Communicate with courtesy and respect. Respect the privacy and personal information of other participants.
  • Use messaging/email responsibly. These tools are intended to keep participants in touch with one another, to help facilitate networking and to promote common interests.

By logging onto the conference platform and joining a virtual session, you are considered to be in agreement with the terms and conditions listed above.


Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

March 10, 2021

Clinical psychologist Dr. Ashley Doukas says the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, together with social and political upheaval, has been a reminder our own limitations as both professionals and human beings. Doukas serves victims of trauma, particularly survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at Bellevue Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


From TRIO Alumni to Congressional Staffers: “TRIO Just Keeps on Giving”

February 26, 2021

On Thursday, February 18, at the virtual Federal TRIO Programs: Uniting for College Access and Success briefing, bipartisan and bicameral Members of Congress and congressional staffers shared their experiences of how TRIO guided them through college graduation and into the halls of Congress.

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At COE’s 40th Anniversary a Time for Reflection, Recommitment and Celebration Emerges

February 25, 2021

Turning 40 is traditionally a time to take stock, to measure the triumphs and lessons of past years and prepare for the challenges to come. In this, COE’s 40th year, we are grateful for all we have accomplished with the help of allies who have accompanied us on our journey.

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What the Wolanin Internship Did for Its First Intern Brandy Dailey

January 11, 2021

The Thomas R. Wolanin Congressional Internship Program is designed to provide individuals who are in the first generation of their families to graduate from college with an opportunity to observe the federal policy-making process first-hand and to participate in that process.

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How TRIO Inspired This Young Political Organizer in Georgia

January 4, 2021

How did Jaylan Scott, a self-described shy, “nerdy kid” become a 20-year-old college student who has held more party offices than most life-long Democrats?

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November — A Data Story on First-Generation Students, by the Pell Institute

November 6, 2020

This month we focus on first-generation students in honor of the nationwide First-Generation Celebrations this week.

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Thanks for Registering for Our Virtual Conference. Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Go!

September 17, 2020

COE's 39th Annual Conference is hosted on the virtual conference platform OpenWater. Login using the same e-mail address you used to register at (https://coenet.secure-platform.com/a).

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Attention, Indiana TRIO Programs — $8K Grants

August 27, 2020

COVID-19 has hit our students and families especially hard. The COE Emergency Grant Aid Initiative provides financial resources to college opportunity programs in Indiana requesting such assistance.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Major Update! Democratic Party Platform Draft Calls for Doubling Federal TRIO Programs!

July 23, 2020

As a part of our federal engagement with both Republicans and Democrats, we reached out to elected officials sitting on both party platform committees to request inclusion of provisions favorable to TRIO programs.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


COE Mourns the Loss of Two Icons in the Civil Rights Movement

July 20, 2020

The Council for Opportunity in Education and the entire TRIO community mourns the loss of two civil rights giants who pushed for equality for Black Americans — Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian. Without their sacrifices to ensuring a more just future, there would be no TRIO programs.

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The 2020 Annual Conference Goes 100% Virtual, Register Now!

July 17, 2020

Now that COE is bringing you to San Antonio virtually, there are even more reasons to register! Saving on travel enables you to register more of your program staff. Engage in mutual learning at our 39th Annual Conference to enhance your program and services to your students.

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What You Need, What Your Students Need

March 17, 2020

In this difficult time, I believe COE has two primary responsibilities. First, to the extent feasible, to meet the needs of educators working in college opportunity programs — especially the Federal TRIO programs — and the colleges and agencies that sponsor these programs. Second, to articulate the needs of the students and clients served by TRIO programs.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Puerto Rico’s Upward Bound T3 Alliance Students Help Respond to Earthquakes

January 24, 2020

After the earthquake in Puerto Rico, the TRIO Upward Bound student participants — members of the T3 Alliance — began their project to set up quake early warning stations for residents.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


First Gen Celebrations Spread Far and Wide in Third Year

November 11, 2019

For the third year, COE and NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success asked college campuses around the nation to hold rallies, panel discussions, listening sessions, and more in recognition of their first-generation students.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


From Student to Scholar to Public Servant

July 25, 2019

My life would not be the same without the Upward Bound program. I spent three summers as a participant, living and learning alongside other students who dreamed of becoming the first person in their families to attend college. Upward Bound was my support system.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


30th Annual National Student Leadership Congress

June 26, 2019

On June 8-13, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) hosted the 30th Annual National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC) at Georgetown University. This year, nearly 200 Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Upward Bound Math/Science students from across the country, Puerto Rico, and Guam came to Washington, D.C., to learn, be inspired, and share their stories.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Campuses Around the Country Celebrate First-Generation Students on November 8!

November 15, 2018

On November 8, 2018 — the 53rd Anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 — the Council for Opportunity in Education once again partnered with the Center for First-generation Student Success for the second annual First Generation College Celebration.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Texas Christian University and the Pursuit of HappineSSS

October 3, 2018

During the Council for Opportunity in Education’s 37th Annual Conference in New York City, Texas Christian University (TCU) was honored as the winner of the Student Support Services 50th Anniversary Student Video Contest.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


2018 Indicators Report Released at National Press Club, Encourages Dialogue among Scholars

June 15, 2018

On May 17, 2018, The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Education (Pell Institute) of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the University of Pennsylvania Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (PennAHEAD), released the Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States — 2018 Historical Trend Report at a meeting at the National Press Club.

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Past Presidents Unite for 40th Anniversary of MO-KAN-NE

May 7, 2018

On April 4-6, 2018, the MO-KAN-NE (Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska) Chapter of the Educational Opportunity Association (EOA) celebrated its 40th Anniversary at their Annual Conference.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Students Celebrate National TRIO Day 2018

March 16, 2018

TRIO Day began on February 24, 1986, when a congressional resolution (H. Con. Res. 278) declared that Saturday, February 28, 1986, should be designated as "National TRIO Day" to commemorate the annual achievements of the Federal TRIO programs.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


The University of Connecticut's Center for Academic Programs Celebrates Their 50th Anniversary

January 29, 2018

On October 28, 2017, the University of Connecticut's Center for Academic Programs (CAP) celebrated 50 years of Changing Lives through Educational Access with a gala on the Storrs campus.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Campuses Celebrate First-Generation Students

November 22 2017

Here are just some of the activities that occurred around the country on November 8, 2017. Check out #celebratefirstgen on social media to learn even more!

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Capitol Hill Celebrates First-Generation College Students

November 13, 2017

On November 8, 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education, in partnership with NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, hosted the first annual celebration of First-Generation College Students on Capitol Hill.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.


Morehead State University TRIO Program Helps Incarcerated Students

November 2, 2017

Any criminal conviction puts significant barriers before those wanting to improve their lives. It also reduces the pool of job candidates unnecessarily, according to two women who are working to help former inmates become college-bound students.

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McNair: From Limited Opportunities to Undreamed-of Careers

October 10, 2017

Despite a childhood of limited opportunity, Davarian Baldwin dreamed that he could become a politician or lawyer with predictable success.

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Helping Veterans Make the Most of the G.I. Education Bill

July 21, 2017

Julia Gusse can't tell you much about her service in the United States Air Force. She had top-secret clearance.

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Upward Bound Director of 40 Years Finishes His Career Defending Wittenberg University Program

June 14, 2017

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, said the Roman philosopher Seneca. And Eddie Chambers, Upward Bound program director for 40 years at Wittenberg University, was plenty prepared on March 22nd when he landed in Chicago and glanced at his cell phone before making his connecting flight back home to Ohio.

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Penn State's Talent Search Program: Strengthening Schools, Students

May 15, 2017

To sense the passion that Christal Graham-Jones has for her job as a Talent Search counselor, one only has to look at what she calls her "wall of fame," outside her office door at Sharon High School in Pennsylvania.

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TRIO Student Testifies Before Congress

March 31, 2017

Living in Greenville all my life helped me believe in the American Dream. But belief isn't enough. You also need hard work.

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TRIO Helped Homeless Student Succeed; She Helped Shake Up the System

March 14, 2017

After her first year of college, Jessica McCormick got the dreaded letter from the dean: pull your grades up or you'll be dismissed.

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Book Club Blazes Pathways to Leadership

February 27, 2017

"There's something special that happens when you get a group of powerful women in a room... and shut the door," wrote Andrea Wong in the forward of her book, "Secrets of Powerful Women: Leading Change for a New Generation."

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From Homelessness to Entrepreneurship with TRIO as the Spark

January 26, 2017

Ten years ago Hunter Lin was 11 years-old and working two jobs in China. Today he's a graduate nursing student at Johns Hopkins University and founder of a biomedical start-up company that hopes to launch technology at the end of 2017 to change how diseases are diagnosed around in the world. He credits TRIO with giving him a chance.

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As Actress Viola Davis' Star Soars, Others Recall Upward Bound Beginnings

January 3, 2017

When internationally-acclaimed actress Viola Davis gains her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Jan. 5, two special people will be among the many around the world cheering her on: Her older sister, Deloris Grant, and the sisters' earliest acting coach, Ron Stetson.The federal Upward Bound program links all three.

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