Senator Collins has a strong record of supporting education at all levels, including promoting early childhood education; improving our public school system for kindergarten through 12th grade; and working to increase the affordability of  higher education.  Visiting Maine’s schools is a priority, and Senator Collins has made more than 160 Maine elementary and secondary school visits throughout her time as a Senator.  Selected efforts and accomplishments include:

Higher Education: Senator Collins has consistently supported efforts to help make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for all families, regardless of income.  Over the years, she has led efforts to increase Pell Grants funding, which helps students and families struggling with the high costs of a college education. 

Senator Collins is also a champion of the federal TRIO programs.  She has spearheaded bipartisan efforts in the Senate to increase funding for TRIO Programs, which help students enter college, stay in college, and graduate.  These programs identify low-income and potential first-generation college students and provide them with encouragement, support, and assistance to help them achieve their education goals. 

Rural Education: The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) law was written by Senator Collins to provide financial assistance to small and high-poverty rural districts to help them address their unique local needs and meet federal requirements.  Most recently, Senator Collins and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) authored the Rural Education Achievement Program Reauthorization Act of 2013 to extend the Small, Rural School Achievement and Rural and Low-Income School programs.  Senator Collins is also a co-chair of the Senate Rural Education Caucus which was organized to help focus on the goal of advancing the educational interest of rural schools and districts by sponsoring briefings, facilitating communications between the Department of Education and other organizations interested in rural education, and attempting to advance a legislative agenda that benefits rural communities, educators, and students.

Head Start and Early Education:  Head Start programs promote school readiness through comprehensive child development services geared to economically disadvantaged children and families.  Senator Collins has always supported Head Start and has spoken out against proposed cuts that would devastate these important programs. 

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriates Committee, Senator Collins will continue to work to ensure that Congress provides robust funding for the most effective educational programs aimed at helping students in preschool to colleges and universities. 

No Child Left Behind: Along with Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Collins commissioned the Maine No Child Left Behind task force to examine issues facing Maine under the NCLB law and Maine Learning Results.  Based on the task force’s recommendations, Senators Collins and Snowe co-authored the No Child Left Behind Flexibility and Improvements Act.  The bill reforms NCLB by giving states, school districts, and schools greater control and flexibility in implementing and executing the law. 


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