House Subcommittee Advances Spending Bill with Higher Ed Cuts
June 27, 2024

​A House Subcommittee today advanced a spending bill that includes substantial cuts to several key higher education programs for FY 2025, which begins Oct. 1.

While not as drastic as previously proposed cuts, the spending bill, which proposes to slash Federal Work-Study (FWS) and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program in half and eliminates other crucial programs, would considerably harm low- and middle-income students and students from marginalized communities.

In total, the FY 2025 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill allocates $198.4 billion, which Democrats say is an 11 percent cut from FY 2024 levels. In their summaries, Republicans and Democrats differ on the total funding the Department of Education would receive, though both say the appropriations would be a 13-14 percent cut from FY 2024. The legislation includes $23.5 billion for federal student aid programs, a $1.1 billion decrease from FY 2024 levels.

The bill maintains a maximum Pell Grant award of $7,395, $750 less than President Biden's budget request and well below the Student Aid Alliance's request to double the maximum grant. One fear heading into the FY 2025 budget cycle was the threat of a Pell shortfall that could have led to cuts for the program, yet a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office indicates that a shortfall is no longer expected in FY 2026 due in large part to the impact of the botched FAFSA rollout in causing enrollment declines among low-income students.

Among the other provisions:

  • FWS would receive $615 million and FSEOG would receive $455 million, a 50 percent cut over FY 2024.
  • Federal TRIO Programs would be level-funded at $1.2 billion.
  • GEAR UP would be level-funded at $388 million.
  • Funding to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) through the Aid for Institutional Development account would be increased by $18 million, according to Democrats on the committee.
  • The HBCU, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and MSI Research and Development Infrastructure Grants, Hawkins Centers of Excellence, Teacher Quality Partnerships, and the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program would be eliminated.

While these levels are lower than what is needed, spending caps imposed by legislation that raised the debt limit last year paired with added challenges in a presidential election year create a particularly difficult budgetary environment.

For the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the bill provides level funding with FY 2024 but would also dissolve the existing structure of 27 existing institutes within NIH and create 15 new "centers." The bill also includes language that would cap facilities and administration costs at 30 percent for institutions that are under the current endowment tax. This proposal continues the recent deeply concerning trend of efforts in the House to target this group of institutions for differential treatment under federal law.

The spending bill will now move to the full Appropriations Committee. Similar cuts are not expected to be proposed in the Senate, even in a difficult funding cycle.

For more on the higher education community's funding priorities, read this Student Aid Alliance letter.