Funds Approved for Higher Education Race to the Top, Modest Increases in Student Aid
The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday approved a $164.3 billion spending bill for FY 2014 that provides funding for the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program for higher education, as well as modest funding increases for some postsecondary programs, including Pell Grants.
Modeled on an identically named program for K-12 education, the higher education Race to the Top program (first proposed by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union address) would provide a pool of funding that states would compete for, with the Secretary of Education making awards based on criteria that are not subject to congressional approval.
While last year’s appropriations bill did not contain any of the $1 billion the administration had requested for Race to the Top, the Senate’s FY 2014 bill includes $400 million for the initiative.
The bill also maintains the discretionary portion of the maximum Pell Grant award level at $4,860 for the 2014–15 academic year. Combined with mandatory funding, the total maximum award would rise by $140 to $5,785.
Other provisions include:
- TRIO programs, which help low-income, first generation college students prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education, would increase by $53.9 million over FY 2013 levels to $850 million.
- Funding for the GEAR UP program, which helps low-income students to gain access to and succeed in college, would increase by $20.8 million over FY 2013 levels to $307 million.
- Federal Work-Study funding would increase by $50 million to $1.025 billion.
- National Institutes of Health funding would increase by $307 million to $31 billion.
- Funding for Title VI international education and language studies programs would increase by $10.8 million to $80.9 million.
- A proposed $1 million study into the burden imposed on institutions by federal regulations.
- Small increases for institutional aid, FIPSE and GAANN.
While most of the levels in the bill represent increases over FY 2013 levels, they remain below the funding levels for FY 2012, which preceded the across-the-board reductions in funding imposed by sequestration earlier this year.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.
Senate Appropriators Call for Modest Increases in NIH and Pell Grants
The Chronicle of Higher Education