WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a total of $773,280 in grant funding to the University of Maine System and the University of Maine at Presque Isle to help students succeed in higher education. The funding, awarded through the Department’s Talent Search Program, will support academic, career, and financial counseling aimed at helping students to graduate from high school, continue on to postsecondary education, and complete their degrees.
“We must ensure that all students have the resources they need to meet their goals and broaden their academic horizons,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “The Talent Search Program delivers critical funding for Maine students who face significant barriers to higher education so they can plan for their future, further their studies, and dare to dream big. We applaud the Department of Education for its continued support of this important program in Maine.”
“The University of Maine’s Talent Search (METS) program has been continuously funded since 1977,” said Karen Keim, Director of the Maine Educational Talent Search & Maine Educational Opportunity Center at the University of Maine. “It is an honor and privilege to continue to break the cycle of poverty by expanding college access services to students with the most need of support. METS partners with 16 schools across the state to support students and their families in their pursuit of a college degree.”
The Talent Search Program has awarded $533,280 to the University of Maine System and the $240,000 to the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The University of Maine System expects the project will provide services to 1,111 students in grades 6-12. The University of Maine at Presque Isle anticipates the funding will serve 500 students in grades 6-12 in 12 target school districts in rural Aroostook County. The grant funding is expected to continue over five years.
The Talent Search Program is one of eight Federal TRIO programs that help low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities complete their college educations. Senator Collins is the co-chair of the Congressional TRIO Caucus, of which Senator King is also a member. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins has successfully advocated for increasing funding for TRIO programs.