Sending Office: Honorable Gwen Moore
Sent By:

Support Funding for Federal TRIO Programs in FY2020


Add your boss

Deadline: March 25

Dear Colleague:

Rep. Chris Smith, Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., and I invite you to join us in signing the bipartisan letter below encouraging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to include a significant increase
in funding for Federal TRIO Programs.

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation
college students, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.

In 2017, approximately 810,000 students and veterans benefited from the academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports provided by TRIO. However, this is 31,000 fewer students than they did just a decade ago.

Given the great needs of our low-income, veteran, and disabled students as well as our own desire to boost our domestic economy by creating a skilled, college-educated workforce, we hope that you will join us in this effort to secure increased funds for
TRIO in FY 2020.

Thank you for your continued commitment to higher education and TRIO programs.



The Honorable Rosa DeLauro                                    The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human             Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human

Services, and Education Appropriations                     Services, and Education Appropriations

2358B Rayburn House Office Building                     1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:

For the last several years, your Subcommittee has provided historic levels of support for the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) and the hundreds of thousands of low-income, first-generation students served by these programs. As you prepare your FY 2020 appropriations
bill, we ask that, once again, you prioritize the academic, financial, and cultural supportive services provided by TRIO and, through a robust increase, ensure the continued growth of the programs, which serve as a pathway to the middle class for students
across our nation.

Recent higher education policy conversations have shifted from questions of access to concerns around retention and completion. Simultaneously, students from the lowest-income families earn college degrees at a rate that is five times lower than students
from the highest income families (11% vs. 58%).  Without a degree, these students fail to achieve the increased earning power that would allow them to repay any debts incurred in pursuit of higher education. Yet, TRIO programs address each of these concerns
by providing students with intensive and intrusive supportive services that help ensure that they successfully prepare for, persist in, and graduate from postsecondary programs and make wise choices in financing their educations.

FY 2020 presents a ripe opportunity for expansion of TRIO and particularly for TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)—the largest and most expansive program promoting college persistence for low-income students. During FY 2020, the Department of Education will
host the next grant competition for SSS funding. Despite the overall gains in TRIO funding over the last several years, funding apportioned by the Department of Education for the SSS program has remained somewhat stagnant. This fact, combined with the increased
cost of providing services, has resulted in an overall decrease in the number of SSS students and programs. During the 2018-2019 academic year,
SSS has just 90% of the purchasing power it had in 2010. That is, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the FY 2018 appropriation was equivalent to that appropriated in FY 2010.   

SSS has demonstrated its capacity to enable students to persist and ultimately graduate from college. In a 2015 report that drew from a national sample of low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities, the Department of Education found
that participation in SSS resulted in statistically significant increases in student retention and transfer, grade point averages, and credit accumulation. Additionally, SSS participants outperformed their similarly situated peers in degree completion at both
two-year colleges (40.8% vs. 20.9%) and four-year colleges (48.3% vs. 39.5%).

Given its proven success and the ever-present need to address issues of access, affordability, and completion, we respectfully request your support of a strong increase in TRIO funding in FY 2020.


Gwen Moore                                           Christopher H. Smith                              Donald Payne Jr.


Member of Congress                              Member of Congress                              Member of Congress  

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Education, Veterans

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