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Senator Collins Announces Over $16 Million to Support First-Generation, Low-Income Students

The Funding Will Support More Than 600 Maine Upward Bound Students Annually

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional TRIO Caucus, announced that five Maine colleges and universities received a total of $16,091,620 to support their Upward Bound programs over a five year period.


TRIO programs like Upward Bound 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.  Upward Bound is proven to increase the rate at which participants complete high school as well as enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions.


“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.”


The following Upward Bound programs received funding supporting over 600 Maine students annually:


  • The University of Maine at Presque Isle received $3,603,945


  • The University of Maine at Farmington received $3,591,775


  • The University of Southern Maine received $3,275,865


  • The University of Maine at Orono received $1,488,005


  • Bowdoin College received $4,132,030


Each year, Senator Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, co-leads the effort to fully fund TRIO programs that help low-income and first-generation students enroll in and graduate from college.  The government funding package that Congress passed and the President signed into law in March provided a $40 million increase for the TRIO programs, bringing the total to $1.14 billion – the highest-ever funding level.  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. 


In 2017, Senator Collins successfully reversed 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.  Among the rejected applicants was UMaine at Presque Isle.  As a result of Senator Collins’ sustained advocacy, UMaine at Presque Isle 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. 


Last year, Senators Collins, Jon Tester (D-MT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Educational Opportunity and Success Act that would reauthorize the federal TRIO Programs 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 UMaine at Presque Isle faced.



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