Did you know that only 58 percent of Montana high school graduates further their education after graduation? It's less than 30 percent for students from low-income households. What is interesting is that when you ask as class of sixth-graders if they have a goal of going to college after high school, nearly 100 percent raise their hands. What has changed in that six years? Some would argue that sixth-graders are unrealistic. I would argue that they have lost hope because of a lack of guidance.
I work in the TRiO programs. You may know them as Upward Bound, Talent Search, Veteran's Upward Bound, Student Support Services, McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, or Educational Opportunity Centers. All are TRiO programs that work with different populations.
The president has released his proposed 2013 budget and the funding for TRiO has remained flat. Fortunately the budgets are the responsibility of the House and Senate, and they have the opportunity to increase or decrease the allocated resources. Once again Congressman Denny Rehberg, who fought for an increase in TRiO funding last year as the chairman for Labor, Health and Human Services Committee, has the opportunity to show President Obama that education matters and programs like TRiO have positive effects on the people of Montana. Funding for TRiO and other Title programs needs to be a priority because the return on the investment is tremendous and the outcome ensures a stronger economy and future.