Senator Susan Collins has announced that the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) will receive $639,257 in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound Program. Upward Bound helps low-income, first-generation, and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursue higher education.
Earlier this year, due to a minor line spacing issue in UMPI’s original application, the Department of Education prohibited UMPI’s grant application from being reviewed, jeopardizing services to nearly 1,000 students. Following a months-long push led by Senator Collins, the Department of Education reversed the decision and agreed to review UMPI’s full application.
“I am absolutely delighted to announce that UMPI has been awarded more than $639,000 for its Upward Bound Program,” said Collins. “The Department of Education’s initial refusal to review this application due to a minor line spacing issue was absurd. It is no surprise that when the Department reversed this decision—after a months-long push from the Maine delegation—and agreed to review the application on the merits, UMPI’s application was selected. This funding will help nearly 1,000 students over the next five years who depend on Upward Bound to pursue their higher education goals.”
Senator Collins championed two provisions that were included in the fiscal year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provided the Department with the ability to review the Upward Bound applications. The first was an additional $50 million for TRIO for which Senator Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, successfully advocated in a letter last year. The second was language authored by Senator Collins that “strongly encouraged” the Department “to provide flexibility to [affected] applicants by permitting submission of a corrected application.”
Senator Collins also worked with other members of the Maine delegation and a bipartisan group of Senators to urge the Department of Education to overturn its initial rejection of dozens of Upward Bound applications.