Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Dear CEF Members:
I. FY 2018 appropriations
· Status of FY 2018 funding bill – Tonight Congress filed a 2232-page omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government for the rest of FY 2018. The House Rules Committee is holding a hearing on the bill as I type this in the wee hours, and presumably has the goal of producing a rule allowing the bill to be considered on the House floor on Thursday.
· Tables, Text, and Congressional explanations –
o CEF’s funding table – Attached is CEF’s table showing funding for national education programs at the Department of Education and other agencies. It highlights the 2018 level in the omnibus and compares it to the 2017 level, but also shows the 2016 level, the 2018 level requested by the President, and the 2018 level passed last summer by the House and approved last year by the Senate Appropriations Committee. At the far right it shows the President’s 2019 budget request
o CEF statement on the omnibus – Attached is a statement expressing support for the bill’s education increases from CEF’s Executive Director that we sent out earlier this evening to the press and on Twitter.
o Legislative text and statement of managers – The text of the legislation is available here. The Department of Education is Division H, Title III, starting on page 981. Because the legislative text lists funding totals for each appropriations account and not separately for each program in the account, it is sometimes not that helpful. You can get the necessary detail in the statement of managers for Division H here. It explains what Congress intends and has directions for agencies to follow in implementing the bill. The table showing Department of Education funding by program starts on page 125.
· Highlights of education funding – We’ll have time to go through this more thoroughly tomorrow, but below are some key points.
o $3.9 billion increase for the Department of Education – the bill increases ED funding to its highest level (excluding the 2009 Recovery Act), providing a total of $70.9 billion for FY 2018. This is welcome news, but to put it in perspective, if ED’s funding of $68.1 billion for FY 2012 had kept pace with inflation, it would be $74.8 billion in 2018 constant dollars. Thus, this funding is still not providing the same level of purchasing power for education services that was in effect before the sequester took effect.
o Rejects the President’s eliminations and proposed FOCUS grant – The bill eliminates only one education program (the $15 million school leader recruitment and support program) and reduces funding for only two programs (graduate assistance in areas of national need, and ED’s program administration account). It does not fund the President’s proposed FOCUS grants within Title I. The bill maintains or increases funding for the large programs the President’s 2018 budget eliminated.
o Notable increases in K-12 – The bill reinstates $10 million for statewide community engagement and centers. The bill’s largest K-12 increases are:
§ Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A) – increased $700 million, to $1.1 billion in its second year of funding. It is authorized at $1.6 billion.
§ Title I state grants – increased $300 million, to $15.8 billion.
§ IDEA grants to states – increased $275 million, to $12.3 billion.
§ Impact Aid – increased $86 million, to $1.4 billion.
§ Career and technical education state grants – increased $75 million, to $1.2 billion.
§ Charter schools – increased $58 million, to $400 million.
o Notable increases in higher education – The bill reinstates $6 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which hadn’t been funded in recent years.
§ College affordability - The statement of priorities accompanying the increase in the discretionary caps enacted last month listed $4 billion over two years for college affordability, including lowering student debt for teachers, firefighters, and police. This bill sets aside $350 million to provide public service loan forgiveness for borrowers who would qualify but did not make all their required payments within the designated repayment plan. It also includes a provision providing up to the maximum Pell grant for children of fallen public safety officers and military personnel. I don’t see any mention of teachers, but will look again tomorrow.
§ Pell grants – The bill increases the maximum Pell grant by $175, to a total of $6,095 including mandatory funding. However, it doesn’t provide any funding increase to cover the additional cost, meaning that the reserve of previously appropriated Pell grant funding will be tapped to pay for the additional cost, which I think will be roughly $1 billion. The bill does not rescind any previously appropriated funding, which Congress did for FY 2017 and which had been included in the President’s 2018 request and last year’s House and Senate 2018 funding bills.
§ Work Study – increased $140 million, to $1.1 billion.
§ Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants – increased $107 million, to $840 million. The President’s 2018 budget proposed to eliminate this program.
§ Aid for Institutional Development – the bill increases each program by 14.3 percent over the 2017 level.
§ Student aid administration – increased $102 million, to $1.7 billion.
§ TRIO programs – increased $60 million, to $1.0 billion
o Other notable increases across the education continuum –
§ Head Start – increased $610 million, to $9.9 billion
§ Child Care and Development Block Grant – increased $2.4 billion, to $5.2 billion. This program was singled out for a large increase in the statement of priorities that accompanied the increase in the discretionary caps that Congress enacted last month.
o Funding withheld for ED reorganization – Pages 68-9 of the Statement of Managers express concern with the Department’s proposal to reorganize its offices, and specifically talks about the recently announced changes to the Budget Service. The bill prohibits any funding from being used to decentralize the Budget Service.
Sarah Abernathy, Deputy Executive Director
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