New Bill Addresses Barriers to Upward Bound Grants

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Washington, July 19, 2019 | comments
Sara Weissman
Diverse Education

The U.S. Department of Education rejected grants from one of the TRIO programs, Upward Bound, a few years ago because of clerical errors such as incorrect fonts and margins.

A new bill – the Educational Opportunities and Success Act – was introduced to prevent those type of slips from getting in the way of federal funds for low-income students preparing for college.

“The Educational Opportunities and Success Act is a solution to a problem that should never have happened in the first place,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, one of the authors of the bill. “Rejecting Upward Bound applications for formatting errors is unreasonable. Our bill eliminates bureaucracy and makes common-sense improvements to ensure low-income students have access to the resources they need to succeed.”

The bill would simplify the application process, provide an appeal process for applicants, and create a secondary review panel to reconsider rejected applications.

It would also require a virtual training program to reach rural applicants, fund the TRIO Programs through 2025 and ensure TRIO programs’ eligibility criteria are up-to-date with students’ FAFSA filings.

“This legislation will ensure TRIO programs reach more underprivileged students by making the application process more transparent and reducing administrative barriers,” said co-author Rep. Gwen Moore. “TRIO serves some of America’s most disadvantaged students, like low-income and first-generation students. Investing in TRIO levels the playing field for students whose ethnicity, income and background stack obstacles against them.”

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