The House Appropriations Committee approved a funding plan on June 30 that would increase funding for the Department of Education by 13% for fiscal year 2023.
The bill, approved by the committee in a vote of 32 to 24 according to the parties, would allocate more than $3.9 billion to higher education, an increase of $968 million from the fiscal year 2022, and $24.6 billion to federal student aid programs, an increase of $59 million.
Funding for the Pell Grants is the most significant difference between the House committee’s budget plan and the executive budget proposal released by President Biden in March. The House budget plan would increase the maximum annual Pell Grant award by $500, for a total of $7,395. That falls short of Biden’s proposal to increase the maximum Pell grant amount by $2,175, which would have brought the total annual award to $8,670.
Many higher education leaders were hoping for a larger increase in the Pell Grant that would set the framework for doubling it in the near future. Although the increase offered by the House is modest compared to Biden’s proposal, many of those who supported an increase are satisfied.
“Five hundred dollars is Pell’s biggest raise in a decade,” said Jon Fansmith, assistant vice president of government relations at the American Council on Education, “although far, far short of what the president had asked, and certainly not at a level that we’d be about to overtake Pell anytime soon. That’s not bad news, it’s just insufficient.
The House’s proposed increases to the Pell Grant would have a greater impact on students attending colleges with lower tuition.
“Five hundred dollars is a really big increase for our low- and middle-income students. said David Baime, senior vice president of government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges. For community college students, who pay an average of $3,800 a year in tuition, Baime said, “Increases of this amount promote student success in that students can study more and work or borrow less. .
The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to present its budget plan, and many have said the process could extend beyond the midterm elections in November, past the end of fiscal year 2022 in October.
“It seems unlikely that Congress will complete appropriations before the end of the fiscal year,” said Craig Lindwarm, vice president of government affairs at the Association of Public Universities and Land Grants. “There is no bipartisan agreement yet on setting spending levels for the next fiscal year, and so until that happens there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Other key expenses for higher education
- Help for students: The budget plan would provide more than $24.6 billion to fund federal student aid programs, an increase of $59 million from the previous year. While the budget plan doesn’t match Biden’s proposed increase in Pell Grants, it does include increased funding for the federal work-study program (a $34 million increase) and the Supplemental Opportunities Grants program. education (a $25 million increase), both of which received no supplement. funding in the President’s budget proposal.
- Extends Federal Student Aid to Dreamers: The bill would change language in the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow students who have temporary resident status through the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to qualify for Pell Grants and other federal student loan programs. The provision enjoys strong Democratic support, but will come under fire in the Senate, where a 50-50 split between Democrats and independents and Republicans will likely stall the proposal in negotiations.
- HBCUs and MSIs: Of the more than $3.9 billion allocated to higher education programs, $1.1 billion will go directly to minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities, an increase of $225 million from to the previous year. Under this bill, Howard University would receive $394 million, $84 million more than what was proposed by Biden. Tribal colleges would receive an additional $9 million, totaling $53 million, for fiscal year 2023. A $520 million allocation made available to the Department of Post-Secondary Education Improvement Fund (FIPSE) Education will provide $255 million for research and development infrastructure grants to these colleges. Fansmith was thrilled to see these increases. He said: “It’s really no secret that historically [MSIs and HBCUs] were underfunded compared to other institutions. Many of the capacity issues they have are due to discriminatory funding. Things that should be done about it, and it’s good to see the House doing that.
- Increases accountability of for-profit companies: The budget plan includes new language that would require for-profit colleges to derive more of their revenue from non-federal sources. The House budget plan proposed an amendment to the Higher Education Act that would reduce the proportion of revenue that for-profit colleges can obtain from federal resources from 90% to 85%. For-profit colleges are against the change, according to Tom Netting, executive director of the Career Schools Private Education Network, which represents career, training and certificate programs, which includes many for-profit colleges. He said that because of the additional federal resources used to fund financial aid programs, this change in threshold could result in higher tuition fees to prevent for-profit businesses from losing their eligibility for federal funding.
- Vocational, technical and adult training: The budget plan would allocate $11.8 billion to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to increase funding for adult labor and educational opportunities by $1.3 billion. dollars over the previous year. This bill includes $3.1 billion in funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act state grant (an increase of $256 million), $303 million for Registered Apprenticeship Programs ( an increase of $68 million) and $100 million to expand Community College Strengthening Training Grants (an increase of $50 million). Increase), a program that helps fund education in high-demand skills through community colleges and four-year partners. Baime, who applauded the additional funding, said, “Given the labor shortage, it is essential that the federal government strengthen the skills training that our institutions can provide.”
- Child care: The bill includes $95 million, a $30 million increase, for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, which provides child care subsidies to parents attending college.
- Other Higher Education Programs: Increased funding has been allocated to the federal program TRIO ($1.3 billion, an increase of $161 million), GEAR UP ($408 million, an increase of $30 million), and Teacher Quality Partnerships ($132 million, an increase of $73 million).
Funding from other organizations
The proposed budget also includes funding for organizations that support research. However, their funding levels are lower than the funding proposed by President Biden.
Under the House budget plan, the National Institutes of Health would receive $47.5 billion, a 5.6% increase that is $1.4 billion less than Biden’s proposal. The money would fund research into cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other public health issues.
Additionally, the National Science Foundation would receive $783 billion, an overall increase of 9% that is not even half of the 19% increase requested by Biden. The NSF conducts research on climate change and clean energy, and Lindwarm said this funding is “crucially important” to public research universities.