President Trump expected to sign the measure before the Sept. 30 deadline
The House today voted 361-61 to approve an appropriations package for FY 2019 that includes a $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award and a $2 billion boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health.
The House vote followed last week’s approval by the Senate, which voted 93-7 Sept. 18 to adopt the conference report for the measure which contains Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and Defense appropriations for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Overall, the bill sets the Department of Education’s budget at $71.5 billion, a $581 million increase over FY 2018 despite calls for heavy cuts by the Trump administration.
“With today’s vote by the House, the 115th Congress has completed a remarkable two-year run of significantly increasing spending on student aid and biomedical research,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell in a statement on the bill’s passage. “In the long term, very few steps are as likely to boost America’s economic growth and social progress more than investing in human capital and cutting-edge research.”
ACE and 16 other higher education associations sent a letter to the House Tuesday to express strong support for the bill. The notable higher education provisions the groups acknowledged included:
Pell Grant Program: The maximum grant would be raised by $100 to $6,195. The bill does rescind $600 million in existing Pell funding, which does not impact the current year but reduces the support available in future years.
National Institutes of Health: Funding for NIH would be increased by $2 billion over FY 2018, for a total of $39.1 billion.
Career, Technical, and Adult Education (CTE): The bill provides $1.9 billion for CTE programs, an increase of nearly $95 million over FY 2018. Perkins Career and Technical Education grants would see a $70 million increase, to $1.26 billion.
TRIO: These programs would receive $1.06 billion under the measure, an increase of $50 million over FY 2018. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income and first-generation college students.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: The bill provided $350 million for an eligibility fix for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The Trump administration proposed eliminating the program from its FY 2019 budget.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program and Federal Work-Study (FWS): Both programs were level-funded at the FY 2018 appropriation after receiving a significant boost last year—a $107 million increase for FSEOG to $840 million, and a $140 million increase for FWS to $1.13 billion, the first time since FY 2009 the program’s funding surpassed $1 billion.
The last time a funding bill for the Department of Education was signed into law before the fiscal year deadline was 2005—and the last time a president signed all 12 appropriations bills into law on time was 1996. Not all 12 will be completed during this fiscal year either: The spending package includes a continuing resolution that will fund other government agencies not covered by this or other FY 2019 appropriations bills through Dec. 7 at FY 2018 levels.