A House Appropriations Subcommittee today voted 8-6 to approve a $70 billion Education Department (ED) budget for FY 2013 that includes a slight increase to the maximum Pell Grant award.
The legislation, which allocates funding for programs within the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other related agencies, contains a total of $150 billion in discretionary funding, $6.3 billion below last year’s level and $8.8 billion lower than President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request. It is also $6.8 billion below the level agreed to in the Budget Control Act last year. However, most programs for higher education received level funding from FY 2012.
The House bill is relatively similar to the version passed last month by the Senate Appropriations Committee, at least in terms of the largest higher education programs. The maximum Pell Grant would increase by $85 to $5,635 under both measures, and most other student financial aid programs—such as Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study Grants, TRIO Programs, GEAR UP and funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities—would be maintained at FY 2012 levels. However, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Program would be cut by $98.9 million.
On the research front, the bill would maintain the National Institutes of Health budget at the FY 2012 level of $30.6 billion.
Unlike the Senate bill, the House measure appears not to make any changes to Pell Grant eligibility. The Senate bill’s changes include a partial restoration of Pell Grants for students without a high school diploma or GED credential enrolled in specific types of programs, and a provision to stop students enrolled in online classes from using Pell Grants to cover living expenses.
Another key higher education provision in the House bill would block funding for the Education Department’s program integrity rules for for-profit colleges, including the gainful employment regulation.
The final committee report and associated funding charts have yet to be released, so the status of programs such as Title VI International Education Programs, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and Teacher Quality Partnership Grants are not yet known.