After Tester’s Demands, DeVos Reverses Course on University of Montana Upward Bound Application

Education Secretary Will Reconsider Grant Application One Week After Senator Introduces Bill to Rescind her Office Funds

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced-under heavy pressure-that she will reconsider the University of Montana’s Upward Bound application. Tester introduced legislation and has repeatedly called on DeVos to reverse course after she rejected the application in April, simply because a single page was not formatted according to arbitrary double-spacing requirements.

“Secretary DeVos’ decision to ignore Montanans has been troubling, but I am pleased that she will reconsider this important grant application. Now it is critical that she does not make this mess worse by rejecting the grant. The quicker UM’s grant is approved, the quicker students get the tools they need to succeed. For over 50 consecutive years, Upward Bound at the University of Montana has helped first generation college students earn their degrees, and that shouldn’t end because of government red tape and an Education Secretary who has a lot to learn about public education.”

Tester was joined by 23 other Senators calling out the absurdity of DeVos’ rejection and sent her a letter to reconsider the grant applications. Tester also secured a provision earlier this month in the federal budget that pressured DeVos to reconsider UM’s application. DeVos pointed to increased Upward Bound funding Senator Tester secured in the most recent budget as a reason she is taking another look at this application.

After DeVos ignored Tester’s legislative action, he introduced the Department of Education Accountability Act to rescind $500,000 from DeVos’ personal office budget for every week that she refuses to reconsider the University of Montana’s revised Upward Bound application

DeVos has agreed to reconsider the grant applications, and her decision to award administer the grant will come in the coming weeks.

The Upward Bound program seeks to help low-income and first-generation students access higher education.