Four months after an unintentional line-spacing error put the future of the Upward Bound program at the University of Maine Presque Isle into jeopardy, more than $600,000 in funding has been approved for low-income students.
The news came Wednesday evening as Sen. Susan Collins tweeted, “GREAT NEWS! @UMPIowls to receive more than $600,000 for Upward Bound students. Nearly 1,000 students to benefit from this funding!”
GREAT NEWS! @UMPIowls to receive more than $600,000 for Upward Bound students. Nearly 1,000 students to benefit from this funding!
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) August 23, 2017
The controversy began in April, when the U.S. Department of Education refused to review UMPI’s application for two grants under the fiscal year 2017 Upward Bound Program competition due to a minor line-spacing error in the application.
The line-spacing error — which involved text that was 1.5 line spaced instead of double spaced, as was requested in the notice for applications — appeared in two information graphics on two of the application’s 65 pages.
Upon learning that UMPI was not permitted to correct the application, U.S. Sens. Collins and Angus King and Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to express their concern.
“To deny UMPI’s application a reading because two figures do not meet an arbitrary typographical format ignores the spirit of the Upward Bound Program, is antithetical to congressional intent and would seriously jeopardize the future success of hundreds of students in Maine,” the delegation stated.
Following the announcement that UMPI’s application would not be considered for the 2017 fiscal year, hundreds of Upward Bound alums wrote letters to DeVos stressing the importance of the program.
In May, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Education had changed course and would review the applications for grant funding for UMPI, according to Maine’s congressional delegation.
Federal funding for the UMPI Upward Bound program will benefit an estimated 960 students over the next five years.