Late last night lawmakers reached an agreement on a $1.1 trillion spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2015 that will avert a government shutdown, with small increases for some key student aid programs.
With Thursday’s current continuing resolution (CR) deadline drawing uncomfortably close, the House and the Senate released details of an omnibus spending bill that will combine eleven of the appropriations bills into one, along with a CR for the Department of Homeland security. This combination of an omnibus and CR is a result of political concerns from President Obama’s executive action on immigration and has given rise to the moniker “cromnibus” to describe the legislation.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill on Wednesday, with a vote before the full House on Thursday. Since this would leave no time for the Senate to act prior to the Thursday’s deadline, both chambers are expected to quickly act on a short-term CR that will extend funding by an extra day or two in order for the larger, comprehensive funding bill to clear the Senate.
A brief perusal of the education funding portion of the bill indicates that student financial aid programs can expect, for the most part, level-funding for the 15-16 award year. Pell is funded to the level necessary to ensure the anticipated maximum award of $5,830 for the 2015-16 year. The draft bill also includes a measure restoring a limited ability-to-benefit eligibility criterion for students without a high school diploma and requires the Secretary to make changes to the FAFSA in identifying foster youth.
NASFAA will provide a full analysis of the bill in Thursday’s Today’s News.
Publication Date: 12/10/2014