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Sari Byerly named Board Chair of Council for Opportunity in Education

September 28, 2020

The division of Student Affairs is pleased to announce that Dr. Sari Byerly, Assistant Vice President for Access and Opportunity Programs, began her tenure as Board Chair of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington DC. Dr. Byerly is the first woman from the Northwest region of TRIO programs and the first person from Idaho to serve in this position.

 The  Council for Opportunity in Education is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981 and 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 receive college access and retention services through our member colleges and agencies each year. Federal TRIO Programs, including Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans' Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, help students to overcome class, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education. TRIO services include assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic assistance in high school or assistance to reenter high school or college.

 The Council for Opportunity in Education can celebrate significant accomplishments. Council for Opportunity in Education has helped an estimated 5 million students graduate from college and integrated more than 3,100 TRIO programs, serving more than 800,000 students (two-thirds of whom come from families with incomes under $37,650 for a family of four) into college campuses.  Council for Opportunity in Education has established performance standards that are subject to specific outcome measures. (Each program's continued funding is dependent upon meeting quantifiable objectives related to college entrance and graduation rates.) This organization has also increased national awareness of equal educational opportunity issues and diversity in colleges and universities and leveraged $1.06 billion in FY 2019 to support TRIO Programs. As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from families with incomes under $37,650, where neither parent graduated from college, and more than 3,100 TRIO programs currently serve more than 812,000 low-income students. Many programs serve students in grades six through 12.