Notes From Harlem Rep Espaillat, Clerical Errors Threaten Thousands Of Federal Dollars

July 18, 2019

Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat joined colleagues to protect Upward Bound programs and prevent the U.S. Department of Education from rejecting applications for the federally funded program over clerical errors.

“As an immigrant to this country, I spent my early years as an elementary student learning English as my second language and not wholly versed with the process and transition from secondary education to higher education,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I know firsthand the trials and barriers for students – especially immigrant and first-generation students in their families – the UPWARD Bound and TRIO programs are a critical resource for underserved students offering the personal support and expert guidance necessary for students to gain admission and successfully complete their higher education. These supports are a proven and worthwhile investment that I am a strong and vocal proponent of and proud to be an original sponsor of the Educational Opportunities and Success Act. I am proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that these programs are not jeopardized now or in the future.”

Thank you,

Candace Randle Person
Deputy Chief of Staff & Director of Communications
Office of Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)

Here is the plan:

On Wednesday, Congressman Davidson introduced the Educational Opportunities and Success Act, H.R. 3800, to protect federal funds that help young people from low-income families prepare for college. Authored by Representatives Warren Davidson (R-OH-08), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Mike Simpson (R-ID-02), Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), this bill prevents the Department of Education from rejecting applications for the federally funded Upward Bound program for clerical errors.

Grants from the Upward Bound program were rejected by the Education Department several years ago because of mistakes that consisted mostly of incorrect margins, the wrong font or lack of double-spacing. The rejections triggered an outcry after they jeopardized programs that help thousands of high school students each year.

“The Educational Opportunities and Success Act is a solution to a problem that should never have happened in the first place,” said Representative Davidson. “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.”

“As Co-Chair of the TRIO Caucus, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation along with my esteemed colleagues,” said Representative Moore. “TRIO changed my life. I came to college as a 19-year-old single mother and TRIO gave the resources I needed to be successful. Without TRIO, I wouldn’t be a Member of Congress. Being a Member of Congress means that I can now pay it forward and support the program that for so long supported me. This legislation will ensure TRIO programs reach more underprivileged students by making the application process more transparent and reducing administrative barriers. 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 stacks obstacles against them. I will continue to be a forceful advocate for TRIO. I know how important it is to support this program and I am thrilled to support this legislation.”

“For more than 50 years, Federal TRIO programs have helped millions of low-income students attend college,” said Representative Thompson. “Children from disadvantaged families often struggle to access important mentoring, tutoring, and other hands-on services designed to encourage high school completion and the pursuit of post-secondary education. As a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, I am dedicated to ensuring all Americans have access to higher education opportunities. I am proud to support this common-sense legislation as it reauthorizes TRIO for an additional five years and eases administrative burdens during the application process.”

Among its provisions, the Educational Opportunities and Success Act establish a secondary review panel to reconsider rejected applications and an appeal process for applicants.

Additionally, the Educational Opportunities and Success Act

  • Reauthorizes funds for the TRIO Programs through 2025.
  • Removes administrative burdens to ease and update the application process.
  • Eases administrative burdens in determining student eligibility.
  • Updates TRIO eligibility criteria to reflect the student’s most recently completed FASFA.
  • Requires a virtual training program to reach more applicants in rural areas.

Read more about the Educational Opportunities and Success Act here.

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