Archived Information

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act


Federal TRIO Program Proposals

(See draft bill language)

The Federal TRIO Programs are educational outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO currently includes five distinct outreach programs targeted to serve and assist students to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects. Only a few changes are proposed for the TRIO Programs.

Up to two percent of TRIO program funds may be set aside annually for innovative or experimental projects. This will encourage grantees and other interested applicants to pursue new strategies and educational approaches to better meet program intent. Current grantees will be eligible to apply for funds under the set-aside; however, no prior experience points will be given to applicants under the set-aside. Information derived from these innovative projects will supplement that gathered through the program evaluation studies. The current set-aside of up to ½ of 1 percent for administrative expenses will be continued.

This change in TRIO provides that applicants proposing projects in geographic areas under-served by the TRIO programs will receive priority points which would be added to their peer review score. These applicants will receive an additional ten percent of the average of the reviewers' score.

For each competition, the Secretary will compare demographic data regarding TRIO-eligible students with TRIO program data to determine which geographic areas are under-served by these programs. The Secretary will publish a list of under-served areas for each program competition.

Priority points will help the TRIO programs respond to changing national demographics. Applicants will not be able to receive both prior experience points and priority points for under-served areas.

Additional changes to improve administration of the TRIO Programs include:

Standardizing the duration of TRIO grants. With the exception of TRIO staff development and innovative project grants, grant duration for other TRIO projects will be standardized at four years.

Contracts as well as grants authorized for TRIO Training Program. Authority will be extended to the Secretary to award contracts as well as grants for the TRIO Staff Training Program. Prior experience points will be eliminated for competitions for TRIO Training grants.

Eliminate full financial aid assurance for Student Support Services projects. This largely unenforceable and often burdensome requirement in the statute will be dropped.


NOTE: The administration will seek appropriations for the authorized levels shown in the bill, within an overall budget that adheres to the discretionary spending limits to which the President and Congress have agreed in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

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Last updated: April 4, 2002 by [pss]

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