Policy Seminar

Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated COE 43rd annual Policy Seminar from March 17 to March 20, 2024. Join us for an enlightening series of events, including the Leadership Summit on March 17, 2024, the ED Relations Seminar on March 18, 2024, and the engaging Legislative Conference spanning from March 18 to March 20, 2024. In 2023, over 700 TRIO professionals joined the 42nd annual Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C.

Congressional Outreach Packet

Whether or not you attended Policy Seminar 2023, our students need your help!

We are asking Members of Congress to support a $107 million funding increase for TRIO in FY 2024 to propel TRIO on its way to serve 1 million students. If you attended the Policy Seminar, you must follow up on each meeting to make sure your Members of Congress follow up on their pledge to support TRIO! If you didn’t attend Policy Seminar, you can still advocate from back home by inviting your legislators to visit your students and programs.


Marching Towards One Million

Legislative Conference Features History-Making House Clerk and Members of Congress

To kick off the legislative conference portion of the 2023 Policy Seminar, TRIO alumna and U.S. House of Representatives Clerk Cheryl Johnson provided an insider’s view of Capitol Hill via an interview with COE Executive Vice President Kimberly Jones on Tuesday. At the beginning of the year, the nation watched as Johnson presided over the House of Representatives for four days and fifteen rounds of votes until the chamber selected Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20). 

TRIO Nation also welcomed TRIO alumnus and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV-04). Then on Wednesday, TRIO alumnus and former House Representative Henry Bonilla introduced the audience to his congressional successor, military veteran and House appropriator, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23). Participants also received video remarks from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). 

Throughout the Legislative Conference, attendees received training in working with their government relations professionals, organizing at a grassroots level, and heard from COE and congressional staff experts. 

Marching Towards One Million

Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education

Key Officials from the U.S. Department of Education Address TRIO Professionals

Under Secretary James Kvaal joined us in person to provide insight on higher education in the Biden Administration’s FY 24 budget proposal. Under Secretary Kvaal leads the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) work on higher education, student financial aid, and career and adult education. His work has led to millions of borrowers receiving student loan forgiveness, more affordable repayment plans for future students, and stronger safeguards against future unaffordable loans.

Also representing ED, COE hosted CJ Powell, chief of staff in the Office of Postsecondary Education, and Gaby Watts, senior director of Student Service. Watts, who took the helm of the TRIO and GEAR UP division in 2021, illustrated the past, present, and future efforts of her division in its oversight of TRIO. 

Long-time TRIO advocate Linda Byrd-Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, joined Ms. Watts and gave brief remarks during Monday’s luncheon. 

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Leadership Summit

Policy Seminar 2023 Draws Association Leaders from Across the TRIO Nation.

Through our sessions and conversations over 300 participants explored the various places and spaces where the work of TRIO overlaps with the priorities of other stakeholders and provides the venue for us to amplify our work; sharing demonstrated expertise in college access and success. Chantel Jackson, TRIO alumna and past TRIO professional who now represents District 79 in the NY State Assembly, led participants in a conversation about how college access and success professionals can do more to influence state policy to positively impact our students’ chance at postsecondary success.

In the final session of the day, Executive Leadership Institute group members presented posters answered questions on the case study topics they worked on. Participants perused the posters and saw the great work that was done to answer the issues commonly faced by TRIO at the institutional and state chapter levels.

LeadersSHIFT: What Change Will You Inspire?

Get in Touch

Questions? Contact Director of Congressional Affairs Zach Farmer.

Diane Shust

Vice President, Public Policy [email protected]


Director, Congressional Affairs

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