2021 Annual Policy Seminar

Monday — Wednesday • March 22-24, 2021 • Fully Virtual

Join the Virtual Seminar

It’s showtime! COE's 40th Alumni Leadership Forum, ED Seminar and Policy Seminar are all hosted on the virtual conference platform OpenWater. Login using the same email address you used to register at ( Participants can live stream the entire conference or specific sessions via the OpenWater video platform, in virtual meeting rooms powered by Zoom. 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 the virtual seminars 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. Here's all the information you need to know before you go.

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 (

Registration for the Now Fully Virtual 2021 Policy Seminar is Now Open!

This year’s virtual summit consists of three events:

  • 1) The TRIO Alumni Leadership Forum, a virtual networking event for TRIO alumni takes place on Saturday, March 20;
  • 2) The Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education or “ED Seminar” will include remarks from grant agency officials and programmatic breakout sessions on Monday, March 22; and
  • 3) The two-day advocacy session (formally known as the “Policy Seminar”) will feature remarks by key Members of Congress and online panels of legislative experts, advocacy training, and virtual visits to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 23 and 24.

TRIO Alumni Leadership Forum — Saturday, March 20, 2021

This year, COE hosts a virtual fifth annual TRIO Alumni Leadership Forum. Participating TRIO alumni will:

  • Share strategies for successfully navigating post-college life (family, career, finances, etc.);
  • Engage in networking and “instant mentoring” sessions with fellow alumni from college access and success programs across various sectors and industries; and
  • Learn more about TRIO history and take part in preserving the TRIO legacy.

There is no cost to register for the Alumni Forum. However, this registration does not include the Policy Seminar or the Seminar with the U.S. Department of Education. The deadline for registration is Friday, March 19, 2021, at 4 p.m. ET. Please contact Justis Lopez at ( for additional information.

Virtual Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education — Monday, March 22, 2021

Take advantage of this opportunity to hear from the new Biden Administration and learn about its higher education priorities. This seminar for administrators in postsecondary institutions and community agencies provides information on:

  • U.S. Department of Education policies;
  • U.S. Department of Educational fiscal and programmatic regulations and reporting requirements;
  • The latest information on TRIO regulations; and
  • The outlook for upcoming TRIO grant competitions.

For questions on the Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education, please contact Angelica Vialpando at (

Virtual Policy Seminar — Tuesday and Wednesday, March 23-24, 2021

TRIO United for a New Era — COE’s 40th Annual Policy Seminar affords the TRIO community the opportunity to help educate Members of Congress, congressional staff, and others about the history and the success of federal college access and success programs. This event gives participants a chance to represent the interests of low-income and first-generation students and veterans, adult learners, and students with disabilities in the policy arena.

Important Note — The TRIO Alumni Leadership Forum and Seminar on Relations with the Department of Education will not involve any lobbying activities; however, certain aspects of the Policy Seminar will involve such activity. Therefore, federal grantees must allocate costs for these separate activities appropriately and in a manner consistent with their institutional policies. Please contact Angelica Vialpando at ( or Kimberly Jones at (, if you have questions.

Bring your TRIO alumni to the Policy Seminar! — Alumni participation at this event will give graduates the skills they need to be TRIO advocates at the local, state, and national levels. COE staff are delighted to help TRIO directors provide fulfilling policy experiences in Washington for their students when they are on school breaks. Students should not miss school in order to attend the Policy Seminar.

Registration Instructions and Deadlines

For individuals participating in the Policy Seminar and/or Department of Education Seminar, online registration at is strongly encouraged. Online registrants will receive an immediate receipt. Click here to register online.

All registrations not completed online must include a credit card payment, check, or purchase order to be accepted.

Special Discount — If you attended last year’s Policy Seminar and bring a newcomer to Policy with you, the newcomer can register for half off of his/her regular registration rate (Member or Non-Member). These registration forms must be submitted by fax at the same time. There is no online registration for this special offer.

If you bring a member of your institution’s Government Relations staff or campus/institutional leadership, their registration for Policy Seminar only is also half off his/her regular registration price. This does not include the Seminar with the Department of Education. Registration for this special discount must be submitted by fax — there is no online registration for this special offer. Download the paper registration form Document is available for download (.pdf).

Important Note — This half-price discount does not apply if you are registering for only the Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of Education.

Paper Registration — Registrations not completed online must be postmarked or faxed with purchase order, check, or credit card payment by Monday, March 1, 2021, to receive the pre-registration discount. For questions about registration and payment, please contact COE’s business and finance department via e-mail to ( or phone at (202) 347-7430.

Refund Policy — Registration fees paid in advance are refundable (less processing fee of $250) if written notice of cancellation is received/faxed on or before January 31, 2021. No refund requests will be accepted after this date. All refunds will be made after the seminars. Return by mail or fax to: Council for Opportunity in Education; P.O. Box 742282; Atlanta, GA 30374; Fax — (202) 628-3726.

Important Dates

Deadline for Early Bird DiscountJanuary 31, 2021, Deadline to Register for Alumni ForumFriday, March 19, 2021

TRIO Alumni Leadership ForumSaturday, March 20, 2021
Seminar on Relations with the U.S. Department of EducationMonday, March 22, 2021
Policy SeminarTuesday and Wednesday, March 23-24, 2021