House Labor-HHS-Education Spending Bill Increases Pell Grant by $500, Allows Dreamers to Access Federal Student Aid
July 05, 2022

​The House Appropriations Committee voted 32-24 last week to approve the FY 2023 spending bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The bill provides $86.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, including $24.6 billion for federal student aid programs and $4 billion for non-aid programs. 

It also includes a total of $47.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an across-the-board increase of 3.2 percent for NIH institutes and centers and $2.5 billion above the FY 2022 enacted level. 

Although President Biden had requested a $1,775 increase for the maximum Pell Grant, the bill only provides for a $500 increase, which would bring the total maximum award to $7,395. The president campaigned on doubling the Pell Grant, and the Double Pell Alliance, a coalition of higher education associations, organizations, and advocacy groups, remains committed to this goal.

The measure includes new language allowing Dreamers and students with temporary protected status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to be eligible for Pell Grants, as well as other categories of student financial assistance, including federal student loans, TRIO, and GEAR UP. ACE and the higher education community have long supported extending eligibility to these students. ​

Other higher education provisions include: 

  • $920 million for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, an increase of $25 million above FY 2022.
  • $1.2 billion for Federal Work Study, an increase of $34 million above FY 2022.
  • $1.1 billion to assist Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including $403 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, $247 million for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and $53 million for Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities. This is an increase of $225 million over FY 2022.
  • ​$1.3 billion for Federal TRIO programs, an increase of $161 million above FY 2022.
  • $408 million for GEAR UP, an increase of $30 million above FY 2022.
  • ​​$520 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, an increase of $452 million above FY 2022. This amount includes $200 million to continue the Postsecondary Student Success Grants and $225 million for new Research and Development Infrastructure Grants to four-year HBCUs, TCUs, or other MSIs to promote transformational investments in research infrastructure.

In addition, the bill would change the existing 90/10 metric for proprietary institutions to 85/15. This measure would require that proprietary institutions receive no more than 85 percent of their funding from the federal government. The definition of federal funding under 90/10 was recently expanded to include military and veterans benefits, and is currently undergoing a rulemaking process at the Department of Education to implement. 

With last week’s vote, the House has now completed work on all 12 appropriations bills for the coming fiscal year. However, the recent pattern in Congress has been for the House to pass all of its spending bills at least out of committee, while the Senate makes little to no progress. Lawmakers then reconcile everything in a giant omnibus spending package well past the start of the fiscal year, after running on “continuing resolutions” during the interim. The delay will likely only be worse in an election year.


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