Lobbyists for the federal education program Trio received nearly $10,000 in funding after the Associated Students Board unanimously voted to double last year’s funding at its meeting last Wednesday.
The Trio program focuses on helping incoming college students from low-income backgrounds to succeed in higher education. For the last few years the AS supported lobbyists from Trio, at the most gifting them with less than $6,000, according to Student Trustee Simon Fraser.
Trio asked for over $9,800 this year from AS, much more than in the past.
“Just to clarify, Trio is an amazing program,” Fraser said. “But the request [for money] is three times more than in previous years. What’s the rationale for the additional money?”
Nicki Dixon, director of the Trio Talent Search Program, explained that having more advocates up in Washington D.C. would help to support their cause of aiding low-income students in higher education.
“It’s important to have those advocates in Washington D.C.,” Dixon said. “They provide education in training so we are prepared to talk to senators and aides.”
Dixon also explained that Trio couldn’t use their own federal funding for lobbying, and have to find other pathways to receive financial assistance for their cause. The programs also received a five percent funding cut from the government, according to Dixon.
“The only way we can get assistance is by asking. Hopefully you have the opportunity to fund us this year,” she said.
Sarah Belknap, AS vice president for sustainability, believed it was important to have more PCC representatives up on Capitol Hill and was in favor of fully funding Trio.
“I’m a first generation college student myself. Taking more PCC students is a great idea,” Belknap said. “While being attacked with funding cuts, it’s really important to let students lobby for their own benefits.”
Dixon was very glad to receive funding from the AS.
“Our difference on the hill really does make a difference,” she said.