Report from ASPIRE-MT Government Relations Committee (GRC)
Submitted by Ray Carlisle, Chair

    1. Statewide statistics:  For the second year, the GRC collected Annual Performance Reports (APR) from a majority of MT TRIO programs.  These reports were used to prepare a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the educational outcomes attributable to TRIO programs in our state.  Dan Benge completed most of the work for this task.
    2. Montana TRIO Fact Book:  A 20-page Montana TRIO Fact Book 2004 was compiled and printed highlighting facts about each type of TRIO program including their outcomes, student stories illustrating the impact of the programs, and statewide statistics on funding.  The Fact Book was completed in time to be given to our congressional delegation during Policy Seminar and for distribution at the spring conference of ASPIRE-MT in April of 2004.  This book was a true committee effort, but Amy Verlanic and former UB student Adam Munson coordinated layout and printing.


    1. Policy Seminar:  Dan Benge and Brian Pilcher capably represented Montana at the COE Policy Seminar in March 2004.


    1. MT TRIO Achievers Luncheon:  the GRC coordinated with the ASPIRE-MT State Meeting Committee to invite four MT legislators to attend our MT TRIO Achievers Luncheon at the ASPIRE-MT spring conference in April.  The legislators met the five Montana TRIO Achievers, heard them speak at the luncheon, and were given a copy of the Montana TRIO Fact Book 2004.  Each was introduced to the members attending the luncheon.  Joyce Kronholm coordinated the MT TRIO Achievers selection process and the luncheon.



    1. Reauthorization:  Congress has apparently decided not to complete reauthorization of the Higher Education Act during this session of congress
    2. Grants:  The ASPIRE-MT GRC received $1,000 from ASPIRE and $500 from the Council for Opportunity in Education State Initiative Committee to help pay for the Montana TRIO Fact Book and the cost of MT TRIO Achievers attendance at the luncheon.  Montana is featured on COE’s State Initiative website.

    Coming in 2004-05:

    • State meeting in Helena:  legislators reception
    • Reauthorization of Higher Ed Act?
    • MT TRIO Fact Book 2005
    • March 2005 COE Policy Seminar

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    Report from ASPIRE-MT Government Relations Committee (GRC)

    At the October 2003 ASPIRE conference in Rapid City, the MT ASPIRE Government Relations Committee identified five areas that may require action from Montana ASPIRE.

    1.             Statewide statistics:  following up on an action decided upon last spring, the Committee collected Annual Performance Reports from most TRIO programs in Montana and has compiled some statistics that reflect the statewide impact of our programs.  Dan Benge did the lion’s share of this task and completed a PowerPoint presentation in time for sharing at the statewide Montana Education Association Conference.  We would like to keep this data up-to-date, so the committee will ask project directors to submit a copy of their APR to the MT ASPIRE President every year after they have sent the report to the U.S. Department of Education.  We’ll all have to remember to print a copy after submitting the report online.  A statewide TRIO report could have many uses, especially in our work with the state legislature and the Board of Regents.

    Note:  a copy of Dan’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here.

    2.             Reauthorization:  if congress continues to move forward with a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act this year, we may need to be prepared to take action quickly in support of or opposition to various reauthorization proposals. 

    3.             Appropriation for TRIO:  as always, congress will take action on a bill to appropriate money for Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, which will include money for TRIO.  If we have a chance to affect the amount of our appropriation, it will come between now and the Christmas recess.

    4.             Policy Seminar:  MT ASPIRE needs to be adequately represented at the COE Government Relations and Policy Seminar in March of 2004.  Those who represent us (Brian Pilcher, ASPIRE President, will be one) may need help from us gathering information to share with Senator Baucus, Senator Burns, and Rep. Rehberg.

    5.             Use of $1,000 for State Initiative:  the ASPIRE region has voted to give each state association in our region $1,000 to use for a State Initiative.  An example of what this money can be used for is the reception we had at the state association meeting last April in Helena.  Since the MT legislature won’t be in session this spring, the Government Relations Committee will work with the MT ASPIRE President to identify a good use of these funds. 

    The chair of the MT ASPIRE Government Relations Committee for 2003-04 will be Ray Carlisle.  Members include Dan Benge, Becky Davis, Bob Haddock, Angelina Levandowski, Mary Lukin, and anyone else who’d like to join.