Skip to content

Collins, Tester Lead Push for TRIO Program Funding to Assist First-Generation, Low-Income College Students

In Maine, nearly 7,600 students are served by TRIO

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jon Tester (D-MT) led a bipartisan group of 56 Senators – including Senator Angus King (I-ME) – in advocating for robust funding for Federal TRIO Programs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. Senators Collins and Tester are the Co-Chairs of the Congressional TRIO Caucus. 


Nationally, there are more than 3,100 TRIO programs serving more than 800,000 students. In Maine, 30 TRIO programs serve almost 7,600 students all over the state. 


TRIO programs help to 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. These programs provide crucial support to low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities, homeless youths, students in or exiting foster care, military veterans, English learners, unemployed adults, and students in rural communities.


“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. Without TRIO’s individualized counseling, advising, and support, many of these students may lose opportunities for a better life,” said Senator Collins. “When we lend a hand to those who have the motivation to pursue higher education but lack the means, they give back to their communities. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I am proud to be an advocate for these important and often life-changing programs.”


“Investing in our first-generation college students is one of the best ways to guarantee these young Montanans are equipped to compete in a 21st century economy,” said Senator Tester. “This TRIO funding will not only help shape the next generation of leaders, but it will support the working families who have already given so much to ensure their success. I’m glad to join Senator Collins and a bipartisan majority of our colleagues in the Senate in supporting funding for this critical program and the diverse students it supports.”   


In addition to Senators Collins, Tester, and King, the letter was co-signed by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).


Click HERE to read the full letter.




In March, Senator Collins delivered remarks at the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education’s annual Policy Seminar. During her remarks, Senator Collins recounted her effective push in 2017 to reverse a misguided decision by the Department of Education that denied dozens of applications for Upward Bound funding based on arbitrary, non-substantive formatting criteria such as line spacing or font size irregularities, including the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI). As a result of Senator Collins’ sustained advocacy, UMPI ultimately received its TRIO grant that provided approximately 960 disadvantaged high school students in Maine with the chance to realize their academic potential and achieve their higher education dreams. 


In an effort to strengthen the federal TRIO programs and improve their outreach to underserved youth, Senator Collins led a group of bipartisan colleagues last year in introducing the Educational Opportunity and Success Act. The legislation 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.



Related Issues