State Leadership

National College Opportunity Programs Leadership Summit

Are you looking for an opportunity to expand your professional network, enhance your leadership skills, learn about state and federal TRIO initiatives, and develop tools for professional engagement?

Inspiring present and future leaders is essential for developing our TRIO community and the National College Opportunity Programs Leadership Summit embodies this necessity. This cornerstone event occurs each year prior to COE’s Annual Policy Seminar and gathers State/Regional leadership, Emerging Leaders, Alumni and Experienced Professionals to develop leadership skills and form quality professional connections. Check back soon for more information about the next Leadership Summit.

Executive Leadership Institute for College Opportunity Professionals

Since 2017, COE has partnered with a highly selective institution to host upcoming leaders of its state and, as appropriate, regional affiliate associations for a four-day Executive Leadership Institute.

This experience provides invited college access and success professionals with the opportunity to engage in lectures, workshops, and facilitated exercises designed to strengthen their leadership skills at state and institutional levels.

The curriculum includes:

  • Effective leadership, communication, and negotiation strategies;
  • Team-building;
  • Increasing and leveraging strategic capital on college campuses; and
  • Influencing state and federal policy to advance the interests of low-income, first-generation students.

At the same time, the Executive Leadership Institute provides the host institution with the opportunity to showcase its financial and non-financial offerings that support the enrollment, retention, and graduation of the students that these college access and success professionals serve.

The first Executive Leadership Institute took place at Princeton University in 2017. The second event took place at Cornell University in 2018. In 2019, Yale University hosted the Executive Leadership Institute. After a brief pause during the pandemic, the University of Kansas and Princeton University hosted two cohorts of state leaders in the fall of 2022. Johns Hopkins University hosted our most recent ELI in the fall of 2023.

Paul T. Spraggins State Initiative

The Paul T. Spraggins State Initiative Grants are awarded to select state/chapter associations of COE affiliates bi-annually to promote activities across the country to help state/chapter associations build their capacity to advocate for college access and success programs serving low-income, first-generation students.

Examples of past grant-funded projects include:

  • Emerging Leaders Institute activities and support
  •  Hosting a TRIO Day celebration
  •  Expansion of Professional Development offerings
  •  Developing a media relations plan
  •  Hiring a state advocacy consultant

Grant awards of up to $500 are available for state/chapter associations. The State Leadership Committee’s scoring rubric is available here to assist applicants in writing competitive applications. In addition, find past awardee applications in the State Leadership Community of Practice. Please contact Jen Rudolph at ([email protected]) if you have any problems accessing the State Leadership Community.

More information

Applications for a Spraggins Grant must be submitted through the online form. Applications include: Completed application form, including a commitment from the respective Regional Association to provide at least $500 in matching funds; State Chapter President Signature; and a Regional Association President’s signature; a detailed budget outlining Regional, COE Grant and any State Chapter funds that will be utilized. Please note: when an application has been submitted, an email will be automatically generated and sent to both the State Chapter President, and Regional President for their signature. Applications that do not have completed signature forms will not be considered. Prior awardees who have failed to submit a follow-up report to the Vice President of State Initiatives, Jen Rudolph, will not be considered.

The State Leadership Committee accepts applications on a rolling basis. The committee reviews and funds applications twice a year. The application deadlines are May 1 and December 1 of each year. Applicants are notified of grant status by June 1 and January 1, respectively. COE sends award checks to regional treasurers within two months of grant award notification. Follow-up reports from awardees are due within 30 days of project completion. Digital applications should be completed, and the certifying signature emails (automatically sent upon submission of the grant application to the State Chapter and Regional President) should be received by the application deadline. Questions about this process should be directed to the Associate Vice President of State Initiatives, Jen Rudolph at [email protected].

Paul T. Spraggins State Initiatives Grant Resources

To assist state or chapter associations in creating or strengthening outreach initiatives that improve the association’s state advocacy and engagement in education policy, enhance development capacity, train members on and develop media relations, or increase alumni engagement.

Get funding to strengthening outreach initiatives that improve your state advocacy


Understand how reviewers will assess and evaluate your application


Submit this report no later than 30 days after you complete your project


Get in Touch

For answers to questions regarding state leadership initiatives and grants, please contact COE Associate Vice President of State Initiatives Jen Rudolph via email at [email protected] or call (202) 347-7430.

Communities of Practice 

The Communities of Practice State Leadership page is a central location for all state/chapter association Presidents, Presidents-Elect, and other future or experienced leaders to network with each other, share resources and best practices, and promote timely information distribution from the state and regional associations.

Join the Conversation

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