Collins Announces More Than $5 Million for Maine Colleges and Universities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Funding will support federal TRIO programs, which provide critical assistance to low-income and first-generation college students

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that 13 Maine colleges and universities have been awarded a total of $5,082,580 through the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Support Services Program.


“TRIO programs provide critical assistance to more than 7,400 low-income and first-generation college students throughout our state,” said Senator Collins, the co-chair of the Congressional TRIO Caucus.  “This funding will help to ensure that Maine’s colleges and universities have the resources they need to continue to help students graduate and reach their career goals, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”


The Student Support Services Program (SSS) is a federally-funded TRIO program that helps institutions of higher education provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and guide students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary educations.


The funding has been awarded as follows:


·         Central Maine Community College: $596,999


·         Kennebec Valley Community College: $338,972


·         Eastern Maine Community College: $261,888


·         University of Maine at Fort Kent: $343,051


·         Northern Maine Community College: $294,722


·         Southern Maine Community College: $523,776


·         Thomas College: $259,491


·         University of Maine at Augusta: $544,741


·         University of Maine at Presque Isle: $358,735


·         University of Maine Farmington: $338,971


·         University of Maine at Orono: $668,084


·         University of Southern Maine : $261,888


·         Washington County Community College: $291,262


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Collins has continued to work to ensure that students and institutions of higher education (IHEs) have the support and resources they need.


At a Senate Education Committee hearing earlier this year, Senator Collins highlighted the importance of TRIO programs throughout the county and called for their continued financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In May, Senator Collins announced nearly $3 million in additional funding for Maine colleges and universities, adding to the more than $41 million Maine IHEs were awarded in April, both through the CARES Act.  Additionally, Senator Collins led a bipartisan group of 40 Senators in pressing congressional leadership to include significant funding for the federal TRIO Programs in any upcoming coronavirus relief package.  


Senator Collins is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional TRIO Caucus and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.  Each year, she leads Senate colleagues in requesting funding for the TRIO programs.  Last year, Senators Collins and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation that would reauthorize the federal TRIO Programs through 2025 and make key reforms to make it easier to enroll students in the TRIO programs.  One of the provisions in Senator Collins’ bill would permanently prevent the situation the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) faced in 2017 when the Department of Education threatened to deny its application for Upward Bound due to a minor formatting issue. Senator Collins successfully urged the Department of Education to reverse its decision, protecting funding for UMPI.