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Undocumented Students Could Access Federal College-Prep Programs Under Biden Proposal

Undocumented Students Could Access Federal College-Prep Programs Under Biden Proposal

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
January 17, 2024
The Education Department wants to open up some federal college-prep programs known as TRIO to undocumented students. But some college and school administrators are worried about potential political backlash, particularly from Republicans in Congress, and they want the Biden administration to hold off.
“Across campuses, TRIO programs are constantly fighting for support,” said D’Angelo Sands, executive director of college access and outreach at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. “We are very much aware of the political climate, and the TRIO programs have been a target.”
Sands was one of several people who spoke against the department’s plan at a Friday meeting of an advisory subcommittee convened to weigh in on the proposal. He and other members of the subcommittee said they generally like the idea of expanding the TRIO programs, but they were hesitant to back the policy change due to fears of unintended political consequences. Those opposed to providing public benefits to undocumented students could use the policy change as a reason to cut the programs’ funding, they argued.
TRIO programs help low-income, first-generation and other underserved students get to and through college. More than 880,000 students participate in TRIO annually. The federal government spent about $1.2 billion on the programs last fiscal year. TRIO would receive the same amount under proposed budgets in the House and Senate, which are currently up for negotiation.
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