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FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill: Student Aid and Research

March 26, 2018


Provisions and funding levels for student aid and scientific research in the Fiscal Year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act​, the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill signed into law on March 23. 

Policy Provisions 
  • A provision sought by NASFAA and ACE that clarifies existing law to allow institutions to share financial date with organizations that provide scholarships. 
  • A provision barring the use of funds by the Secretary of Education to reorganizing or decentralizing the Budget Service within the Department of Education. A related provision directs the Secretary to inform the Appropriations Committees prior to any reorganizing or restructuring within the Department. 
  • A provision directing the Secretary to increase the full-time equivalent staff of ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and to maintain the twelve existing OCR regional offices.
  • A provision that amends existing legislation governing the awarding of Pell Grants for families of fallen first responders.
  • Several related provisions regarding the handling of student loan servicing by the Department of Education. The language bars a move to a single servicer; requires the Secretary to evaluate servicers and assign new contracts on the basis of previous performance; requires the Secretary to use previous performance as a factor in the selection of servicers for new contracts; and requires subcontractors of servicers to meet the same standards as contractors.
  • A provision extending the period for the Secretary to provide temporary emergency impact aid for displaced students under the Hurricane Education Recovery section of the Bipartisan Budget Act, until December 31, 2018.
  • A provision continuing FY17 language that prohibits the Secretary from rejecting TRIO applications due to minor technical or budgetary issues.
  • A provision that requires the Secretary to make quarterly reports on the Department’s granting of partial relief under borrower defenses to repayment.
  • The bill provides $350 million in funding for the cancellation of student loans under Public Service Loan Forgiveness for otherwise eligible borrowers who were in the wrong repayment plan. The bill also includes $2.3 million for ED to make outreach efforts to potential PSLF participants.
  • The bill includes $1 million for “the Department of Education to establish a pilot grant program to support technological upgrades for community colleges for the purpose of supporting cybersecurity programs.”
  • The bill includes $5,000,000 for “a pilot, competitive grant program to support projects at institutions of higher education that create new open textbooks or expand their use in order to achieve savings for students while maintaining or improving instruction and student learning outcomes.”
  • The bill includes $10 million in new funding and provisions related to ED’s financial responsibility scores and the deferment of outstanding loans for private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It also includes a new provision regarding an outreach plan to help additional public HBCUs participate in the program.
  • A provision that would prohibit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from capping Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs. 
  • A provision that clarifies the ability of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow for research on the causes of gun violence. HHS is still limited from using appropriated funds to advocate or promote gun control under the 1996 Dickey Amendment.
​​Funding Chart for Student Aid and Research (click to enlarge)

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