ASPIRE Frequently Asked Questions

What is ASPIRE?

How did ASPIRE begin? 

In Denver during the fall of 1976, personnel from the forty-eight TRiO programs in Federal Region VIII contributed $2 each toward the expenses of a committee whose purpose was to organize a professional organization. That night, a group of the faithful gathered in a hotel room to come up with a name for the new association. After numerous suggestions that produced unpronounceable acronyms, “Association of Special Programs in Region Eight — ASPIRE” was chosen.

TRiO was less than 10 years old, and was administered entirely through the regional offices. Project personnel had been unaware of the forces that influence funding for their programs, but slowly began to realize the need for a coordinated national effort to effect funding, to communicate about issues, and to provide training. ASPIRE was joining an emerging movement among TRIO personnel nationally.

In 1977, ASPIRE organizers disseminated “News Flashes” that contained information about efforts of TRiO personnel in obtaining the FY 1977 increase and encouraged project personnel to write letters and support the effort for the increase in the FY 1978 appropriation. In addition, three proposal writing workshops were held, and ASPIRE mounted its first conference in Park City, Utah in October.

Much has transpired in the years since. The Association of Special Programs in Region Eight is now ASPIRE, Inc. It has matured into a professional organization serving over 500 staff members in 127 projects. ASPIRE continues to support its members with professional development, timely information relating to national issues, and its members advocate at the state and national levels on behalf of our programs and participants.

Who was Art Quinn (the person for which the Art Quinn Memorial Award is named)?

Art Quinn was director of Upward Bound at what was then Black Hills State College (now Black Hills State University) in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Art’s commitment to his students was without bounds; he would stop at absolutely nothing to support and advocate for them.  To see his students in the wide UB target area, Art cruised western South Dakota in his giant old Chrysler.  The Chrysler was also his office, and the back seat was crammed with files and resources.  Art was known first for his commitment, but also for his humor and infectious laughter.  He served as State President for South Dakota in the early 1980’s as ASPIRE was in its early stages of growth and development.

Art passed away while awaiting word on project funding during a grant competition.  He will be forever be remembered as the epitome of unlimited and heart-felt commitment to first generation and low income students, to TRIO, and to ASPIRE.

ASPIRE Board

What is the ASPIRE Board?

The Board of Directors shall be composed of eleven members including: the officers: the President, President Elect, Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer of ASPIRE, Inc.; and other Board members, the State Presidents from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


What is the difference between the ASPIRE Regional Board and State Boards?

Each state elects a State President that serves on the Regional ASPIRE Board. The make up of each state board varies from state chapter to chapter. Some boards only have a president, treasurer and secretary other boards include more members.

How long do board members serve on the ASPIRE Regional Board?
The President, President Elect, and Past President shall serve for one (1) year beginning at the end of the conference. The Treasurer shall serve for two (2) fiscal years and the secretary shall serve for two (2) years beginning at the conclusion of regional conference, with each office elected on alternating years.  The State Presidents serve on the board as long as they are elected to serve for their state association.

What is COE?

What is COE?
The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico. Its membership includes more than 1,000 colleges and agencies. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Over a million low-income students and students with disabilities each year receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies.

What is TRIO?

What is TRIO?

TRIO is Educational Opportunity for Low-Income and Disabled Americans.

Our nation has asserted a commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance. In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. These Programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (initially just three programs). While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes under $28,000, where neither parent graduated from college. More than 2,700 TRIO Programs currently serve nearly 866,000 low-income Americans. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12. Thirty-seven percent of TRIO students are Whites, 35% are African-Americans, 19% are Hispanics, 4% are Native Americans, 4% are Asian-Americans, and 1% are listed as “Other,” including multiracial students. Twenty-two thousand students with disabilities and more than 25,000 U.S. veterans are currently enrolled in the TRIO Programs as well.

Over 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges, and agencies now offer TRIO Programs in America. TRIO funds are distributed to institutions through competitive grants.

Students in the Upward Bound program are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO; nearly 20 percent of all Black and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs; students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.

For more information about TRiO from the Council for Opportunity in Education, click here.

ASPIRE e-mail account questions

Will I still receive e-mail at my work e-mail address if I use the ASPIRE e-mail account?

Yes.

The ASPIRE e-mail account is only required for using the Workplace website.

How do I get an ASPIRE e-mail account?

Purchase an ASPIRE membership, each member will e-mailed the login information for their e-mail account?

How long will I be able to use my ASPIRE e-mail account?

ASPIRE members will maintain their ASPIRE e-mail account as long as they are members of ASPIRE, Inc.

Can I forward my ASPIRE e-mail account to my work account?

Yes, you can do this by setting up a forward. The instructions for this are on the ASPIRE e-mail instructions page.

ASPIRE membership questions

Do I need to be an ASPIRE member to register for an ASPIRE conference?

No, you can register as a “non-member”.

How long is my ASPIRE membership valid?

ASPIRE membership year is from September 1, through August 31 each year.

Who can be an ASPIRE member?

Membership is open to each TRIO, Gear Up, or other educational opportunity/equal access project in the ASPIRE, INC. states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming.

What is the difference between project membership and personal membership?

A project membership is for a TRIO Program/Project, for example an institution with a Talent Search and Student Support Services would purchase two project memberships. A personal membership is for an individual, each TRIO professional in the ASPIRE region is asked to purchase a personal membership. Click here to purchase either one.


What are the different types of membership?

As an individual:

Personal membership with ASPIRE, Inc. is available and renewable on an annual basis. The membership year for this type of membership coincides with the annual conference. The membership year always begins with the start of the annual conference, and is payable before checking in for the event.

Personal membership provides the individual with a discounted registration rate to attend state and regional conferences, and they are entered into the ASPIRE e-mail mailing list, providing them a communication source with the region as a whole.

Payments for personal membership are not allowable through grant funds, though institutions may choose to pay this fee through institutional or indirect funds.

There are multiple levels of membership for individuals based on the type of work they do, or their connection with the region.

Professional Membership is available to persons employed full-time or part-time in TRIO, GearUp, or other educational opportunity/equal access type programs located in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming. Professional membership is also available to any person that maintained ASPIRE Professional Membership for a minimum of 10 years, and is now retired from the position they held within TRIO programs during their ASPIRE membership period. Each Professional Member is entitled to one vote and is eligible to hold any office within the association.

Current cost: $60 per year ($30 for first year members)

Associate Membership is available to persons meeting either of the following two criteria: (1) employed in a clerical/support staff position within a TRIO, GearUp, or other educational opportunity/equal access type program located in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah or Wyoming; (2) persons employed full-time or part-time in TRIO, GearUp, or other educational opportunity/equal access programs locate in states which are not included in the ASPIRE, Inc. region. Each Associate Member is entitled to one vote, and may serve on committees, but may hold no office in the association or serve on the Board of Directors.

Current cost: $40 per person ($20 for first year members)

Emeritus Membership is available to any person that has maintained ASPIRE Professional membership for a minimum of 10 years, and is now retired from the position they held within TRIO programs during their ASPIRE membership period. Each Emeritus Member is entitled to one vote, and may serve on committees, but may hold no office in the association or serve on the Board of Directors.

Current cost: Free

Friends and Alumni Membership is available to any individual not employed in a TRIO, GearUp, or other educational opportunity/equal access program in the ASPIRE, Inc. region, who generally supports the mission, goals, and objectives of ASPIRE, Inc., and has an active concern for TRIO students. Each Friends and Alumni Member may have voice, but no vote, and may not hold office in the association.

Current cost: $20

TRIO Participant Membership is available to any current TRIO participant in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming not currently employed by a TRIO or GearUp program, who generally supports the purposes, goals, and objectives of ASPIRE, Inc., and has an active concern for TRIO students. Each Participant Member may have voice, but no vote, and may hold no office in the association.

Current cost: $5

Can I get a refund on my membership if I no longer am employed by a TRIO Program in the ASPIRE region?

No.

ASPIRE project membership

What is a Project membership?

ASPIRE Project Membership provides a project the opportunity to support the region and receive training benefits for staff at the regional level. Prior to the regional annual conference, pre-conference workshops are offered with a cost of at least $100 per person. Staff from a project with a paid project membership for the year may attend these workshops at no cost.

The payment for a project membership with grant funds is allowable according to OMB Circular A-21, J-33.

Current cost: $100

Project Membership Year: September 1 through August 31.

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