ASBMB endorses the Educational Opportunity and Success Act of 2023
Feb. 2, 2023
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology strongly endorses the Educational Opportunity and Success Act of 2023, introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, in January. If passed, this bill would revamp the federal TRIO programs, which are a group of eight federal outreach and student services programs that help students from low-income backgrounds, individuals with disabilities and first-generation college students to stay in the academic pipeline and succeed post-high school.
Studies have shown that participation in a TRIO program has a positive, significant impact on the education outcomes of disadvantaged students. Students enrolled in the TRIO federal programs are more likely to remain enrolled in higher education, earn more course credits, apply for financial assistance and/or complete a college degree. For example, high school students who enroll in Upward Bound Math-Science program, had a higher GPA in math and science courses and saw their overall GPAs increase compared to students who were not enrolled in the program. These programs have proved to be enormously successful and policymakers must support more programs like this.
Programs like this are especially important for first-generation college students who lack mentors and resources to efficiently navigate academia. Studies have demonstrated that the majority of faculty come from privileged backgrounds (i.e., raised in above-average socioeconomic families, in wealthy urban neighborhoods) and are 25 times more likely to have a parent with a Ph.D. than the general population. Students from low socioeconomic status families and first-generation students have multiple disadvantages in achieving success in academia.
Increasing diversity in STEM is vital to ensure a thriving U.S. research enterprise, and the TRIO programs help retain talent earlier in the pipeline (starting in high school), which is key to increasing retention of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The ASBMB strongly urges policymakers to pass the Educational Opportunity and Success Act of 2023 and encourages policymakers to look at more solutions like this to increase retention of low-income individuals and underrepresented minorities and ensure that institutions of higher education are inclusive and accessible to every individual in this country.