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Record Number of Bipartisan Legislators Call for Increase in Funding for Federal TRIO Programs

April 28, 2021

Federal TRIO Programs assist low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities as well as other marginalized groups prepare for and enter college.

The non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education announced today that a record number of TRIO supporters in the House of Representatives joined a “sign-on” letter urging the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to increase the nation’s investment in the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO). Rooted in the Civil Rights Movement and authorized by the Higher Education Act, TRIO programs provide personal mentoring and advising, academic support, and financial counseling to help first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with disabilities, military veterans and other underrepresented students to prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college.

In FY 2022, the TRIO community is asking Congress to support a robust funding increase, with the goal of ultimately serving at least a million more students annually. With programs assisting students in virtually every Congressional District, the breadth of TRIO’s reach manifests in the depth of its support across ideological lines. Co-led by Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), the TRIO Appropriations letter acquired signatures from 248 Congressmen and Congresswomen—more than half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Signatories included 72 Republicans and the leadership of the House Republican Conference, House Democratic Caucus, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), New Democrat Coalition, and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

Maureen Hoyler, COE president, said, “The TRIO programs are critically important to students in families in red and blue states alike and they enjoy profound bipartisan support from Members of Congress, many of whom are program alums.” Currently, five TRIO alumni serve in the U.S. Congress; they are Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Nikema Williams (D-GA). Past TRIO alumni who have served in Congress include former Representative Henry Bonilla (R-TX).

The full text of the House letter and list of signers can be found here Document is available for download (.pdf).