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President Biden Proposes Record $200 Million Funding Increase for Federal TRIO Programs

May 28, 2021

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

The non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) applauds President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education, which requests an increase of $200 million for the Federal TRIO Programs. This is the most historic investment of any Administration in college access and success for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities.

When enacted by Congress, this increase has the potential to allow the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) to provide approximately 150,000 more students with individualized college access and support services. This will bring the total number of low-income young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives and those of their families to nearly one million.

Rooted in the Civil Rights Movement and authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, TRIO provides academic tutoring, personal mentoring, financial advising and other supports to enable first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with disabilities, military veterans and other underrepresented students to successfully prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college.

TRIO does so through a portfolio of programs serving students as young as the sixth grade through those pursuing postgraduate education, to include specialized programming for adult learners seeking to re-enter the postsecondary education pipeline. TRIO serves a crucial function as it shores up the federal investment in aid programs like the Pell Grant and other financial supports.

Earlier this month, during his testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona signaled the Biden Administration’s support for TRIO, stating “TRIO programs we know help underserved students succeed in and graduate from college.”

Such support is more important than ever due to the challenges presented by school closures and remote learning in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Students from low-income backgrounds, in particular, faced tremendous pressure to halt their studies to help provide additional childcare and financial support to their families.

“Given the loss of learning and hope in their futures low-income families experienced during the pandemic, this proposed increase for TRIO will provide critical resources to prevent both youth and adults from giving up on their aspirations for higher education and upward mobility,” said COE President Maureen Hoyler.