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House Spending Bill Would Make Deep Cuts to Student Aid

February 22, 2011


​The House of Representatives took the first step in finalizing funding for FY 2011 by voting 235-189 on Saturday to pass legislation (H.R. 1) that would cut $61 billion from spending on domestic programs for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The bill would slash $5.7 billion from the Pell Grant Program, reducing the maximum award by $845 in 2011-12.

Along with the cut to Pell Grants, the bill also would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) programs, reduce funding for TRIO and GEAR UP programs, and cut $100 million for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and $85 million for Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The bill is equally drastic in reducing funding for scientific research. H.R. 1 would cut the National Institutes of Health by $1.63 billion (5.4 percent below FY 2010), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by $886 million (18 percent), NASA by $578.7 million (3.1 percent) and the National Science Foundation by $359.5 million (5.2 percent).

House members offered more than 500 amendments to the bill, several hundred of which were actively considered. Among the amendments approved was one offered by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which would bar the Department of Education from implementing a proposed regulation requiring for-profit colleges and other vocational programs to ensure students are prepared for so-called gainful employment. The measure passed by a vote of 289-136.

The government has been operating since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010 under a continuing resolution (CR) that provides the same funding levels as FY 2010. The CR is set to expire on March 4 and without a new bill or another extension, the government will shut down.

It is widely believed that these levels will not be acceptable to the Senate or the Obama administration. The administration issued a Statement of Administrative Policy threatening to veto the bill if it felt key programs would be excessively impacted. Both the House and Senate will be in recess until Feb. 28, so the Senate will not take up the measure until next week.

Also see:

The Changed Landscape
Inside Higher Ed (Feb. 21, 2011)

House Republicans Slash $61B in Continuing Resolution
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education (Feb. 20, 2011)

House Votes to Cut Higher-Education Spending, Delay 'Gainful Employment' Rule
The Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb. 18, 2011)

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