Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Some TRIO Changes Needed

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Some TRIO Changes Needed

Article excerpt

Supporters of TRIO programs offered Congress a package of technical revisions in June designed to "help a good program work better," advocates said.

Many of the recommendations for inclusion in the Higher Education Act reauthorization focused on the growing number of younger children served by the five TRIO programs, particularly Talent Search. These students have more complex needs, such as academic advising, to encourage students to take more pre-college courses.

For example, the package of proposals unveiled by the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations (NCEOA) recommended that Congress gradually raise the per-client investment in Talent Search from $263 to $650 to serve disadvantaged youth.

Other NCEOA recommendations to Congress include:

regulatory relief to allow more efficient administration;

work-study options in the Upward Bound program to stem the loss of students who must work to earn money rather than attend summer enrichment programs;

an increase in per-client investment in the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program to help in the transition from welfare to work;

higher stipends in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, from $2,400 to $4,800.

TRIO encompasses an umbrella of activities such as EOCs, Talent Search, Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the McNair program. These services help train youngsters for college and promote retention in higher education.

"TRIO programs work," said Paul Thayer, director of the Center for Educational Access and Outreach at Colorado State University, who testified before Congress for NCEOA, a group that provides support for TRIO activities.

The program is an important complement to federal student aid and its effectiveness has prompted similar investments from post-secondary institutions and community organizations, he said.

Despite its track record of success, TRIO still serves only about 10 percent of those eligible for aid, Thayer said. Congress provided $500 million for the program in 1997, and the White House has proposed a $25 million increase for next year.

New System

Could Revolutionize Test Reporting

Educational testing results officially moved into the technology era last month when a new standard for the electronic transmission of test results and reports was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The new format is expected to dramatically reduce the speed required to process admissions applications from a matter of weeks to a matter of days.

The new electronic data interchange format (EDI) was approved by ANSI's Accredited Standards Committee X12. EDI was developed last fall by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) in collaboration with the Educational Testing Service (ETS), American College Testing (ACT), and National Computer Systems (NCS).

The new system allows colleges and universities to access standardized testing reports more rapidly.

"This partnership [between ACT, ETS and NCS] foreshadows the activities of the Higher Education Electronic Standards Council which AACRAO is working to establish," said Betsy Bainbridge, AACRAO EDI coordinator. "It will bring together stakeholders in electronic standards to develop and maintain standards of interest to the higher education community."

District of Columbia Children May Get Money to Attend Private Schools

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) introduced legislation last month that would provide educational scholarships to precollegiate low-income children in the nation's capital. …

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