Congress on Friday night reached an agreement on 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 (NIH), among other priorities for higher education.
The bipartisan bill—negotiated by a joint House and Senate conference committee—also includes a spending increase for career and technical education for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Overall, the Department of Education’s budget is set at $71.5 billion, a $581 million increase over FY 2018 despite calls for heavy cuts by the Trump administration, as Inside Higher Ed wrote this morning.
Among the provisions:
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 legislation, which is packaged with a defense spending bill and other short-term funding legislation, must now be approved by the full House and Senate. Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass the bills.