We received this message yesterday from Holly Hexter (COE staff) and Dr. Mitchem. Eduardo Ochoa, is the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education with the Department of Education. He spoke to the TRIO family at Policy Seminar last year. I find his comments disturbing and this makes it even more important that we get those signatures on the petitions ( petition for support of TRIO to Senator Bob Corker) for Operation BFF. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you.
Subject: THE DEATH OF THE EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY
From: Holly Hexter <holly.
Subject: Higher Ed Group meeting with Eduardo Ochoa
After today's presentation to the Higher Ed Group, during the Q&A, Dr. Ochoa singled out COE's advocacy of TRIO programs, saying perhaps the international ed community should have been more like COE to pre-empt what turned out to be a 40 percent cut in international programs in the Department.
I immediately said that especially since he had singled us out, I needed to know how he could defend what the community viewed as a gutting of Upward Bound. He responded that Upward Bound is a "high-cost" program, and that the Department is trying to create "more efficiencies...and serve more students." TRIO and GEAR UP are important but serve "only a fraction" of students who could benefit, he said. Federal funding is intended as "seed funding" only and a "signaling device" to an institution that they need to be supportive of low-income and first-generation students. He went further and said that programs "need to be entrepreneurial and start targeting employers" and other community stakeholders to leverage support.
When the formal Q&A ended, I went up to him and said that with all due respect, I questioned his premise that institutions hosting TRIO programs would step into the breach to provide whatever services were eliminated with a reduction in federal funding. "You're looking at one snapshot in time," he said. The Department is taking a longer view. "Over time, this dynamic will change" as the pressures on institutions vis-a-vis completion rates increase and "the vise tightens," he said.
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