House Republicans Release Draft Education Spending Bill for FY 2018

House appropriators on Wednesday released a draft spending bill for the 2018 fiscal year that rejects most of the Trump administration's proposal to dramatically slash funding to higher education programs, Inside Higher Ed reported.

In May, President Trump unveiled his 2018 budget request, calling for a 13.6 percent, or $9.2 billion, reduction to the U.S. Education Department's overall budget. More specifically, the plan proposed a $3.9 billion reduction to the Pell Grant program, $490 million reduction to the Federal Work-Study program, and 10 percent and 30 percent reduction to the TRIO and GEAR-UP programs, respectively. It also demanded the elimination of the $733 million Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, the $700 million Perkins Loan program, the Loan Forgiveness program for public servants, and the subsidized Stafford Loan program, among other things.

House Republicans' plan offers a relative rebuke of the administration's proposed changes, calling for $157.9 billion for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education—a figure $3 billion, or roughly 2 percent, below the allocation of about $161 billion for fiscal year 2017. The draft budget would sustain level funding for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Program and the Federal Work-Study Program; increase spending on both the TRIO, by $60 million, and GEAR UP programs, by $10 million; and boost spending on the NIH by $1.1 billion, instead of the nearly 20 percent cut suggested in the administration's budget.

The draft budget plan would keep the maximum Pell Grant at $5,920, but take $3.3 billion of the program's $8.5 billion surplus to further the appropriations panel's goal of cutting government spending. Advocates for students criticized the proposed rescission of the Pell program's surplus, which they noted would come on top of $1.3 billion redirected for the 2017 fiscal year, Inside Higher Ed reported. "This $3.3 billion cut is the equivalent of the average Pell Grant award for nearly 900,000 students -- more than the number of Pell Grant recipients attending college in Texas, Pennsylvania and Iowa combined," Jessica Thompson, policy and research director at the Institute for College Access and Success, said in a statement.


Related Links

U.S. House of Representative’s Draft Bill on Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Funding

Inside Higher Ed