The University received word in late August–just days before its TRIO Upward Bound program’s two 5-year grants were scheduled to end–that it would receive $639,257 in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound Program. The funding will allow the program to continue to serve low-income, first-generation students from disadvantaged backgrounds as they pursue higher education.
In April, a minor line spacing error in UMPI’s original application prompted the Department of Education to prohibit UMPI’s application from being reviewed, which jeopardized services to nearly 1,000 students. Following a push by Maine’s Congressional Delegation, as well as support and hundreds of letters from students, family, friends and community members, the Department of Education reversed its decision and agreed to review UMPI’s full application in May. The announcement in August that the UMPI program would receive its funding for the next 5 years, with one grant receiving a perfect score and the other a near-perfect score, was met with great enthusiasm.
“We are delighted that both of our Upward Bound grants have now been funded for the next five years,” Darylen Cote, TRIO College Access Services Director, said. “Thanks to all who have supported those of us who were rejected for minor formatting errors. We are grateful that, in the future, worthy programs that make a minor mistake will not have to go through the agony of wondering whether their students will be deprived of such needed educational services. Our members of Congress, their hard work and that of their staffers on our behalf made all the difference. There really are no words to express the depth of our gratitude. Our students, parents, alumni, school partners and institutions made a huge difference with their advocacy as well. It truly takes a community.”
“This unprecedented move by the U.S. Department of Education allowed our Upward Bound grants to receive the reading they so rightly deserved, and to receive the funding our program so critically needed,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “We are indebted to our Maine Congressional Delegation–especially the work Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King and Representative Bruce Poliquin did–as well as the many others who supported us and advocated on our behalf. We are thrilled to be able to continue the important work we’ve done for so many decades to serve disadvantaged high school students in Aroostook County and ensure they can be successful once they get to college.”