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2021 — A Year in Review

January 1, 2022

At COE, we are proud of all we accomplished during 2021 thanks in large part to you. In the midst of a global pandemic, we held true to our goal of serving as a national convener and to our mission of improving educational opportunity for first-generation and low-income students. Thank you for your support in 2021. Here’s a look back Document is available for download (.pdf) on a year like no other.

In March, COE hosted its largest-ever annual Policy Seminar, with over 1,000 attendees joining virtually. Participants heard messages from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona; Michelle Asha Cooper, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education; Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA, the first TRIO alum in the U.S. Senate); Representative Nikema Williams (D-GA, the newest TRIO alum in the U.S. House); and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Emeritus Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI). Greetings also came from Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jim Risch (R-ID) along with Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). TRIO professionals from nearly 300 congressional districts advocated for their students and programs in 425 congressional meetings.

In July, COE hosted Education Secretary Cardona to facilitate a book club discussion with TRIO students nationwide. As part of the COE’s Good Trouble Book Club National Speaker Series, Secretary Cardona facilitated a nationwide conversation with hundreds of pre-college and college students that focuses on Chapter 8 of John Lewis’ book Across That Bridge.

Then in October, COE surveyed hundreds of TRIO educators and alumni and released their stories of crushing student debt and challenges with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program. In response to COE’s national survey, two-thirds of TRIO educators and alumni shared that student debt makes them consider leaving TRIO or public service, and more than half have student debt above $10,000. President Hoyler shared COE’s survey results, TRIO educators’ stories, and policy recommendations on student debt and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with the Department of Education. In response, ED announced significant changes to PSLF to allow 500,000 more TRIO and other public service workers to qualify for federal loan forgiveness. COE partners closely with ED on webinars and other outreach so that TRIO educators can successfully pursue PSLF waivers before the October 2022 deadline.

Read how COE worked and continues to work in overdrive Document is available for download (.pdf) to respond to the needs of TRIO professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to advance college access and success by serving TRIO programs and participants nationwide.