Washington Watch: House approps bill increases student aid, funding for key ed, training programs


The House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding bill for agencies in its jurisdiction, including the U.S. departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL). The bill is expected to be approved by the subcommittee on Thursday and to advance to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration next week.

While an exemplar of House Democrats’ – and the Biden administration’s – strong support for education and labor programs, the bill released today is based on overall funding totals determined by Democrats alone. However, Democrats and Republicans must agree on final spending totals to garner the bipartisan support necessary to move legislation forward in the Senate. Therefore, many of the program spending levels detailed below are likely to be lower, perhaps significantly so, in final appropriations legislation. A final bill is not expected to be passed until sometime late this year at the earliest.   

Department of Education

The bill provides a total of $86.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for ED, an increase of $10.3 billion above the FY 22 enacted level.

The American Association of Community Colleges celebrates continued federal support for the Pell Grant program, and a proposed historic increase to the maximum award amount. The bill would raise the maximum Pell Grant by $500, to $7,395 for the 2023-24 award year, mirroring the funding request in the president’s budget, which put forth a path to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029. This follows a significant increase of $400 to the maximum Pell award in the FY22 appropriations package.

Since this maximum award increase is achieved by tapping into the long-running Pell Grant program surplus, and not through funding increases, it is more likely to be included in final legislation than the other program increases in the House bill. 

The bill proposes moderate increases to campus-based student aid programs. The Federal Work Study (FWS) program would see an increase of $34 million and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) would see an increase of $25 million.  

The Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program would receive a significant increase of $30 million above the FY 22 funding levels. Community colleges are encouraged to apply for this round of CCAMPIS grants by July 11.

The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) would see an increase of $452 million, including $200 million to support the Postsecondary Student Success Grants program created in the FY 22 spending package.

Other key community college priority programs would see additional funding, including Perkins CTE state grants (+$45 million), Adult Basic Education (+$29 million), TRIO (+$161 million), and GEAR-UP (+$30 million).

Finally, the LHHS bill includes a provision to allow DREAM Act students and students receiving temporary protective status (TPS) to be eligible for Pell Grants and other programs, including TRIO and GEAR UP. AACC has long supported extending student financial aid eligibility to these students.

Department of Labor

The LHHS bill includes a significant increase to a key DOL priority for community colleges – the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants, which is currently accepting proposals for its third round of funding. The bill would increase funding to $100 million, delivering a $50 million increase.

The bill provides an increase of $256 million for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state formula programs, $116 million more than the funding proposed in the president’s budget request. The Registered Apprenticeships program would also receive an increase of $68million.

About the Author

Kathryn Gimborys
Kathryn Gimborys is a government relations manager at the American Association of Community Colleges.
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