House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2020 Spending Bill for Labor-HHS-Education

​If enacted, the bill would significantly increase funding for student aid, research

The House Committee on Appropriations today approved its spending bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for FY 2020, allocating $75.9 billion to the Department of Education (ED). The measure would increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $150 and boost funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion, among the overall increases for student aid, higher education programs, and research.  

The $75.9 billion for ED includes $24.9 billion for federal student aid programs ($492 million above FY 2019) and $2.7 billion for higher education programs ($431 million above FY 2019). (Click here for a detailed breakdown of these totals.)

ACE and 36 other higher education associations sent a letter to the committee in advance of the vote, expressing support and noting that the funding levels, if enacted, would “have a profoundly positive impact on the millions of college students who rely on federal financial aid to afford college.”

“Critical increases for programs such as TRIO, GEAR UP, Title VI international education, CCAMPIS, Teacher Quality Partnerships and the Titles III and V programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions will lead to greater affordability and higher quality postsecondary education,” the groups wrote. “We were also pleased to see that the bill includes $150 million in new funding for community colleges to provide training and employment assistance under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.”

Po​litico noted this morning that the Democratic-controlled committee's report on the bill released yesterday also takes aim at Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on a range of issues, including directing her to provide monthly updates on stalled debt forgiveness for borrowers who say they've been defrauded.  

The legislation is a starting point​ for negotiations for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to approve any spending bills.