Capito, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen TRIO Programs

Legislation would reauthorize programs that assist hundreds of thousands of students in pursuing higher education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced the Educational Opportunity and Success Act. The bipartisan legislation would strengthen federal TRIO programs and improve their outreach to underserved youth.

Nationwide, TRIO programs help ensure that underserved students have equal access to a college education and the support they need to prepare for, succeed in, and graduate from higher education. The Educational Opportunity and Success Act would reauthorize the TRIO programs, eliminate several onerous and unnecessary requirements, and institute commonsense reforms to make it easier for educational institutions to reach students who would benefit from these programs. 

“TRIO programs are critically important when it comes to giving students in West Virginia and across the country opportunities to pursue higher education,” Senator Capito said. “Not only do these programs help hardworking young men and women receive a high-quality education, but they also give them a chance to build a lifetime of success and achievement. I’m proud this bill will ensure that future students are able to access the opportunities provided by TRIO and improve the programs so others can achieve their goals.”

“Congress created the TRIO Programs because it recognized that low-income, first-generation students often face significant financial and societal obstacles to accessing and achieving success in higher education,” Senator Collins said.  “I have long supported the TRIO Programs and worked to ensure that they are reaching the students who most need them. So many students in Maine and across the country have benefited from the life-changing academic and supportive services that these programs provide. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation to strengthen TRIO.”

“The TRIO program helps students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for and succeed in higher education,” Senator Baldwin said. “This bipartisan legislation will make this program more accessible to students so that even more young people, regardless of where they come from, can get the support they need to pursue higher education and reach their full potential.” 

“Montana’s TRIO programs have a proven track record of helping our underprivileged first-generation college students earn a college degree,” Senator Tester said. “These necessary, bipartisan improvements to TRIO will help build on its success—and the success of our state’s next generation— for years to come.”

The Educational Opportunity and Success Act would: 

  • Reauthorize funds for TRIO programs through 2025.
  • Establish more reasonable guidelines for notice of pending grant competitions.
  • Remove administrative burdens to ease and update the application process.
  • Institute common-sense guidelines for TRIO applications.
  • Institute a straightforward appeals process for minor errors.
  • Ease administrative burdens in determining income eligibility.
  • Update TRIO eligibility criteria to reflect the most recent Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requirements.
  • Require virtual training to reach more applicants.

Click here for a one-pager on the bill and here for the full bill text. 

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