May 23, 2017 Issues: Education and Children, New York and Our Neighborhoods

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), José E. Serrano (NY-15), and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) issued the following statement to call upon Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reconsider the decision to cut program funding for Upward Bound.

“In 1965, I arrived at Columbia University as the first kid in my family to go to college,” said Rep. Nadler.  “That same year, Columbia received its first Upward Bound funding, which has helped kids just like myself finish high school, enroll in college, and be the first people in their families to receive a college degree. Now, that legacy is on the line – not because Columbia isn’t interested or because the quality of the program has fallen off, but because of some single-spaced paragraphs and bureaucratic nonsense. This is what happens when you intentionally work to grind the government to a halt, stop running programs that actually help people, and leave people with no recourse, like the students and administrators with Upward Bound. The situation is entirely avoidable and fixable, and I urge the Department of Education and Secretary DeVos to find a solution that will ensure Columbia University and the Upward Bound program continues to help students access the life-changing experience of going to college.”

“Countless students from underserved areas like the Bronx, many of whom are the first in their family to pursue higher education, count on being able to take advantage of the Upward Bound program. This program can make the difference between being able to successfully enter and complete college or having to abandon this dream. I once again urge the Department of Education to provide an explanation as to why the applications from schools like Fordham University and Columbia University were rejected, and to give them the opportunity for their applications to be reconsidered,” said Congressman Serrano.  

“The decision to cut funding for Upward Bound program is what gives bureaucracy a bad name,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Upward Bound is an essential educational resource for some of our most vulnerable students. Without funding, students at Columbia University and in communities across the country who benefit from Upward Bound will be shut out of these invaluable educational services for decades due to a minor spacing and typographical error.”

Yesterday, Reps. Nadler and Espaillat held a press conference with Upward Bound students on the campus of Columbia University to continue push to call for funding of Columbia’s Upward Bound program following Sec. Betsy DeVos and Dept. of Education's decision to cut funding this grant season.