Council for Opportunity in Education Records Historical Note/Scope and Content

Records of a non-profit organization seeking to further expand college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. Includes board of directors’ meeting minutes; executive directors’ files; records documenting Congressional committees, appropriations and reauthorization of federal funding for higher education; in addition to news clippings, newsletters, and the records of state and regional affiliates.

Donated by the National Council of Opportunity in Education Associations (later renamed the Council for Opportunity in Education), 1990; additions donated by the Council in 2005.

Processed by Matt Blessing and McKayla Sutton in 2011.

Historical Note

Founded in 1981 as the National Council of Opportunity in Education Associations (NCOEA), and renamed the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in 1999, this non-profit organization represents institutions of higher education, administrators, counselors, and teachers committed to advancing equal opportunity in education. It was established by a national coalition of TRIO associations known as the National Coordinating Council of Opportunity Associations (NCCEOA, founded 1977), which envisioned a permanent national organization to lobby on behalf of prospective and current students at American colleges and universities. TRIO refers to four federal programs funded by the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965: Education Opportunity Centers, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, Talent Search, and Upward Bound. These programs are designed to provide services to low-income, first-generation students with disabilities, including tutoring, counseling, special instruction, and other types of academic assistance. The Council focuses on two major legislative processes--budget and appropriations, and reauthorization of the HEA.

The national structure of the organization is supported by ten regional affiliates: Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, Inc. (AEEE), Association of Special Program in Region Eight (ASPIRE), Caribbean Association of TRIO Programs (CATP), Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP), Mideastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MEAEOPP), Northwest Association of Special Programs (NASP), New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA), Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP), Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs (SWASAP), and the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (WESTOP). The COE also works closely with Congressional leaders, the U.S. Department of Education, and other national organizations interested in federal funding for education.

This collection is especially rich in the records and files of Dr. Arnold L. Mitchem, who served as the Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Marquette University (1969-1986), President of the MAEOPP (1974-1976), Chairman of the NCCEOA (1977-1981), Executive Director of the NCEOA (1986-?), and President of the COE (19-- - present). The organization maintains a website to inform members and the public about upcoming events, meetings, programs, awards, current officers, and other TRIO-related opportunities.

Scope and Content

Series 1, Board of Directors, 1977-1988, is composed of meeting minutes of the NCCEOA, Board of Directors, and Executive Directors. Records after 1984 have significant gaps. The series also contains the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the Council. It is arranged in chronological order by subject.

Series 2, Executive Directors, 1974-1990, features administrative subject files arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Significant categories include: correspondence, arranged by name, date, or congressional branch; papers and speeches, arranged alphabetically by title; and documents related to TRIO programs, arranged alphabetically by subject. Particularly well documented are the papers, speeches, and correspondence of Dr. Arnold L. Mitchem.

Series 3, Legislative Action, 1976-1988, contains documents pertinent to appropriations, the budget process, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In an effort to maintain the original order of this series, archivists arranged the collection according to the dates provided by the Council on the original folders. While the federal fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30, Congress usually votes on the budget for the next fiscal year in the spring. Thus, while a folder may be designated a specific fiscal year, the researcher should not assume that the documents in that folder will correspond to dates of the fiscal year in question and it is recommended that files from the proceeding and following fiscal years be consulted. Congress had only four comprehensive reauthorizations between 1968 and 1980 (1968, 1972, 1976, 1980), though records in this series include documents from other fiscal years leading up to the next reauthorization. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.

Series 4, Conferences, 1975-1990, consists of major conferences and seminars attended by members of the Council including the organization's annual conference, the Congressional Black Caucus, legislative and policy seminars, and other TRIO workshops. It is arranged alphabetically by title and thereunder chronologically.

Series 5, Committees, 1974-1986, includes subject files of various committees and task forces dealing with issues like governmental relations, membership, nominations, policy studies, research and development, and rules and regulations. The series is arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 6, Publications, 1969-1994 documents brochures, newsletters, news clippings, journals, and other publications related to the Council for Opportunity in Education, arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.

Series 7, Affiliates, 1973-1987, is divided into three major categories which cover groups affiliated (both officially and unofficially) with the Council in their capacity as governmental agencies, various national organizations, and regional associations. Absent from this series are records of the Mideastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MEAEOPP). Regional records include annual conferences, general correspondence, and newsletters. The series is arranged alphabetically by category and thereunder by subject.

Related Collections

Marquette University Equal Opportunity Program

Wisconsin Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (Records