The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released a draft spending plan for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education which recommends $153.4 billion for these agencies in FY 2012, some $4 billion below the total for FY 2011.
The Department of Education (ED) would receive $69 billion, $2.4 billion less than in FY 2011.
The maximum Pell Grant would remain at $5,550 under the proposal. However, to maintain the maximum award, the bill makes a number of changes that will reduce awards or eliminate eligibility for some students.
For example, the bill reduces the number of years a student can receive a Pell Grant from nine to six, rolls back some of the eligibility changes approved in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, and eliminates eligibility for part-time students and those who do not have a high school diploma or GED test credential.
Taken together, these changes are estimated to save $3.6 billion next year.
The bill also slashes funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges. GEAR UP, Federal TRIO Programs, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Work-Study are level-funded. Additionally, the plan blocks ED’s gainful employment, credit hour and state authorization regulations by prohibiting the department from spending money to implement or enforce them.
Many observers believe that this proposal is a marker that will be used as a starting point for negotiations when House and Senate subcommittees begin to develop the FY 2012 spending plan. The Senate Appropriations Committee has already considered its version of the Labor, HHS, and Education and Related Agencies spending bill. As with the House, it is unlikely that the full Senate will ever consider this measure.
For the media’s take on the House plan, see the following:
House Appropriations Committee Introduces 2012 Labor-HHS-Education Bill
Ed Money Watch (New America Foundation)
Republicans Push Pell Changes
Inside Higher Ed
House Republicans Seek to Eliminate 31 Education Programs and Tighten Pell Eligibility
The Chronicle of Higher Education