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How education programs fare in government spending deal

BY: RY RIVARD | 12/19/2022 11:38 AM EST

The bipartisan government spending agreement in Congress would increase federal education funding by more than $3 billion compared to this year.

The year-end funding deal, which top Democrats and Republicans are racing to pass this week, would provide $79.6 billion to the Education Department. It includes more money for low-income school districts and students attending college.

House and Senate appropriators early Tuesday released the text of the $1.7 trillion deal to fund the government for the remainder of the 2023 fiscal year.

The sweeping legislation fell short on many of President Joe Biden’s major education proposals, such as doubling funding for Title I and charting a path to doubling the Pell grant. Biden originally called for $88.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Education Department.

Here’s a look at what’s in the bill:

Higher ed

Pell grants: The bill increases the maximum award by $500, bringing the total to $7,395 for the upcoming 2023-2024 award year. Biden’s budget — which laid the groundwork for doubling Pell by 2029 — had proposed increasing the maximum Pell award to $8,670 for the 2023-24 school year.

HBCUs, MSIs receive increase: The bill provides more than $1 billion in direct aid to historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Tribal universities and other minority-serving institutions. That’s a $137 million boost from the current year.

Student aid: Other financial aid programs saw modest increases. The bill delivers a $15 million increase for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, bringing it to $910 million. And it adds $20 million to the Federal Work Study programming, bringing it to $1.2 billion.

The Federal TRIO programs and GEAR UP programs, which help disadvantaged students enroll in higher education, would receive a $54 million and $10 million increase, respectively, under the bill.

Infrastructure money: The bill includes $50 million for a new program that provides grants to help HBCUs, Tribal institutions and other minority-serving institutions build out their research infrastructure.

K-12

The bill provides $45 billion, an increase of $2.4 billion over the fiscal year 2022 enacted level, for K-12 and special education programs.

Title I funding: The sprawling spending package includes roughly $18.4 billion — a five percent, $850 million increase from the fiscal year 2022 funding level — for Title I grants that provide critical support to low-income school districts.

Special education: The bill would increase funding for special education by $934 million to a total of $15.5 billion.

Community schools: The bill would increase funding for full-service community schools by $75 million, bringing total funding for the program to $150 million.

Rural education: The bill also provides $215 million, a 10 percent increase, for education programs in rural school districts.

Summer and afterschool: Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs would see $1.3 billion under the bill, an increase of $40 million above fiscal year 2022 funding levels.

Ends anti-busing policy: The bill permanently repeals a 1972 law that prohibited federal funds from being used for school busing that supports racial desegregation efforts.

Pre-K

Head Start: The bill includes just under $12 billion, a stated $960 million increase from the fiscal 2022 funding level, for Head Start programs. That total includes a $596 million cost-of-living pay increase for program staff and $262 million in funding that programs can use to recruit and retain staff, according to Senate Democrats.

Child Care and Development Block Grant: The $8 billion in funding for the program provided under the bill marks a nearly 30 percent increase, amounting to nearly $2 billion, from last year.

Mental health for children and youth

Education Department training: The bill preserves $111 million in funding for department programs intended to increase school mental health services, including expanded training for new school counselors, social workers and psychologists.

Project AWARE: The bill has $140 million, a $20 million boost, in line for the program designed to identify and help children and youth who need mental health care as part of funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative is also in line for $94 million, a $12 million increase from fiscal 2022.

Food and Nutrition

The bill’s agriculture funding provisions include $28.5 billion in funding for child nutrition programs, an increase of $1.66 billion above the 2022 funding level. The bill also provides $40 million for the Summer EBT program, $30 million for school kitchen equipment grants and $3 million for school breakfast expansion grants. House Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott said the legislation also includes a provision to permanently authorize the Summer EBT program.

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