House Spending Bill Eliminates Federal Work-Study and SEOG Grants, Makes Other Drastic Cuts to Higher Ed Programs
July 17, 2023

​The House Appropriations Committee last week released the text of the bill that funds federal education programs for FY 2024, revealing drastic cuts to a number of key higher education programs for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

The bill proposes to eliminate the Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs, which would cut more than $2 billion in grant aid for low-income students. Funding for Pell Grants would remain level. President Biden proposed increasing the Pell maximum by $820 from $7,395 to $8,215 in his budget request, a move the higher education association community supports although it falls far short of his pledge in 2020 to double the award.

Numerous other programs, including those providing support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions, would be cut or eliminated under the House proposal. Inside Higher Ed reported this morning that according to House Republicans, the budget reduces funding for the Education Department by at least $12 billion, or 15 percent. Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee say the cuts are closer to 30 percent when rescissions to K-12 programs are factored in.

“We are very concerned and we are appalled by the elimination of programs that we’ve seen,” ACE’s Emmanual Guillory told Inside Higher Ed. “Cutting funding for programs that impact students is not something that we take lightly and is not something that we support, especially when there is no remedy to make up for that loss of funding elsewhere to benefit those students.”

The bill, which also includes the budgets for the Labor and Health and Human Services departments, cuts $3.8 billion from the budget for the National Institutes of Health over FY 2023 levels, for a total of $43 billion.

The House and Senate need to pass all 12 appropriations bills before Jan. 1 to avoid a 1 percent cut to all agencies, according to the terms of the debt ceiling deal hammered out by House Republicans and the White House in May.

Senate appropriators are planning to release their education budget proposal on July 27. Given Democratic control in that chamber, a clash over the House cuts is likely. The House bill also includes a large number of problematic riders including barring the use of funds to “promote or advance Critical Race Theory (CRT),” as well as language on abortion and other culture war issues that will make compromise with the Senate even more difficult.

The House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the House bill also on July 27.

A Brief Guide to the Federal Budget and Appropriations Process

Read More