International Falls Journal: Trump budget could impact TRIO
The federal TRIO Programs face budget cuts due to President Donald Trump’s “Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” proposal, which has some fearful for the future.
TRIO, which includes federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, consists of eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.
Under the president’s budget proposal, TRIO would face a 10-percent hit. However, LeAnne Hardy, supervisor of student services/TRIO at Rainy River Community College in Borderland, says it will be more like an 11-percent cut.
“I’m not surprised by the cuts, we’ve always had to fight for TRIO funding,” said Hardy. “This cut directly impacts students, though. We have a retention rate that is unbeatable and we are meeting and exceeding our goals so why do we always get questioned?”
Rainy River Community College’s TRIO Student Support Services aid 90 full-time students, so any cuts would affect everyone involved, said Hardy.
TRIO SSS contributes to the five community college missions of the Northeast higher Education District. The program is open to students for whom one of the following criteria applies; limited income based on federal financial aid, first generation – neither parent has earned a four-year college degree, student with a disability – physical, mental and/or emotional, homeless youth, or a student aging out of foster care.
TRIO receives a budget of $1 million, to be shared among the five campuses.
Career assessment and exploration, graduation and transfer preparation assistance, financial advocacy, free academic workshops and social and cultural events are all available to those students that qualify for TRIO SSS.
“Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college as those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program,” according to the Council for Opportunity in Education.
With proven success, the funding cuts have Borderland educators ready to put up a fight.
“Every year we have staff that attend and participate in lobby days but this year we are just going to gear it up a little harder and advocate for the program,” said Hardy. “We’ve proven that TRIO is very effective, we’re funded on success and prove that success – I just don’t understand cutting programs that work.”
In addition to the TRIO cuts, other funding for federal student aid programs face significant cuts by Trump.
“President Trump’s proposal undermines the strength of our public school system by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in public school funds to boost charter schools and private schools,” said U.S. 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan in a statement.