Legislative Tracker Archive: Student Aid Funding

Legislative TrackerOn this page, you'll find previous proposals for cuts or increases to the levels at which various student financial aid programs are funded through the federal budget process, outlined on NASFAA's overview of the Federal Budget Process. Use these links to jump to a specific session of Congress.

116th Session of Congress

S.0000 - Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act

Sponsor: Sen. McConnel [R-KY]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 8/18/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The bill focuses largely on funding the United States Postal Service (USPS), continuing — though reduced — unemployment benefits, and providing liability protections for businesses, schools, and other institutions. Additionally the bill would provide an Education Stabilization Fund with $105 billion for programs housed under the Department of Education (ED), with just over $29 billion directed to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which would provide grants directly to institutions of higher education, based largely on the enrollment of full-time equivalent Pell Grant recipients. While the bill allows institutions to use the funds to defray costs they incurred due to the coronavirus and to provide emergency financial aid grants to students, including those exclusively enrolled in distance education, the bill does not specify an amount that must be distributed directly to students. The bill does not address student eligibility for emergency grants except for students enrolled exclusively in distance education.

S.4465 - Emergency Grant Aid for College Students Act

Sponsor: Sen. Smith [D-MN]
Cosponsors: 2 (2D; 0R)
Introduced: 08/06/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would create a grant program to provide emergency grants to college students to help them get through unanticipated emergencies. The grant funds would be given by the Department of Education to institutions of higher education and the institution would be responsible for distributing the emergency financial-aid grants to students. The grant would not count  like other forms of financial assistance for the purposes of calculating a student's amount of need and would not be considered in determining the amount of financial aid for recipients for succeeding academic years.

 

S.4322 - Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act

Sponsor: Sen. Alexander (R-TN)
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 7/27/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act would dedicate $29 billion directed to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). 85%, would be distributed to institutions based 90% on the enrollment of full-time Pell Grant recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education at the onset of the pandemic, and 10% on full-time non-Pell Grant recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education. 10% of the HEERF funds would be distributed to Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to address needs directly related to COVID-19, and the final 5% would be directed to institutions that the secretary of education determines to have “the greatest unmet needs related to coronavirus. The HEALS Act would allow institutions to use the funds to defray costs they incurred due to the coronavirus, such as lost revenue, technology costs to transition to distance education, and payroll, and to provide emergency financial aid grants to students, including those exclusively enrolled in distance education. 

S.4112 - Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA)

Sponsor: Sen. Murray [D-WA] 
Cosponsors: 21 (20D; 0R; 1I)
Introduced: 06/30/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The bill establishes the Higher Education Relief Fund (HERF), which will provide over $132 billion in funding for students and institutions of higher education. Included in the bill is a provision to reverse the Secretary of Education’s recent decision to exclude Dreamers from receiving COVID-19 relief aid that was authorized under the CARES Act. This legislation invests over $1 billion in adult education and workforce development. This funding will support programs that serve adult English learners through adult and family literacy activities.

S.3947 - Coronavirus Relief Flexibility for Students and Institutions Act 

Sponsor: Sen. Kaine [D-VA] 
Cosponsors: 0 (0D; 0R)
Introduced: 06/11/2020
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill amends the provisions relating to the higher education emergency relief fund to allow institution to use the funds towards a more broad range of items, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll.

115th Session of Congress

 

Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019
HR 6157 Sponsor:
Rep. Granger (R-TX)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
6/20/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the spending agreement for federal fiscal year 2019 (AY 2019-20), includes a $100 increase to the maximum Pell Grant (to $6,195) and expanded FAFSA data-sharing language. The agreement would level-fund the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs at $840 million and $1.1 billion, respectively, and provide an additional $350 million to the Temporary Expansion Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) initiative for borrowers who were enrolled in ineligible repayment plans.
 Status: 9/28/2018: Signed into Law by President Trump
 
Aim Higher Act
HR 6543 Sponsor:
Rep. Scott (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
57 (0 R; 57 D)
Introduced:
7/26/2018 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Aim Higher Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
 
FY 2019 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
HR 6470 Sponsor:
Rep. Cole (R-OK)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/13/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, was introduced by Rep. Cole (R-OK) and sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies and provides all funding for federal student aid programs for award year 2019-20. The bill would level-fund all federal student aid programs except TRIO and GEAR UP, which would receive a $50 million and $10 million increase, respectively.
 Status: 7/13/2018: Passed House Appropriations Committee
 
FY 2019 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
S. 3158 Sponsor:
Sen. Blunt (R-MO)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
6/28/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, was introduced by Sen. Blunt (R-MO) and sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies and provides all funding for federal student aid programs for award year 2019-20. The bill would increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $6,195 and would rescind $600 million from the Pell Grant reserve fund. The bill calls for level funding for the FSEOG and FWS programs and would reaffirm and expand the FAFSA data-sharing language in the FY 2018 spending bill.
 Status: 8/23/2018: Passed Senate (as part of HR 6157)
 
Strengthening American Communities Act
S. 2984 Sponsor:
Sen. Cardin (D-MD)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/24/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would provide free tuition at community colleges for a student's first two years and a tuition reduction for low-income students in their first two years at minority-serving institutions. To be eligible, states would be required to put up 25% of the funds with other completion and outcomes requirements, while the federal government would contribute 75% of funds. The bill would also create the "National Public Service Education Grant Program" (NPSEG), a first dollar grant program that would cover the average cost of in-state tuition, fees, and room and board for two years. Students attending minority-serving institutions would receive actual cost for tuition, fees, and room and board for two years. If a gap exists between the federal grant and aforementioned costs, institutions would commit to cover the difference using grant and work-study awards. To qualify for NPSEG, students would agree to work for at least 3 years in a public service job after graduation. Failure to graduate or complete the service requirement would mean the previously awarded grant would be treated as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The bill would create an accelerated Public Service Loan Forgiveness program for NPSEG recipients.
 
Skilled Labor Education Act
HR 5944 Sponsor:
Rep. Maloney (D-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/23/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would create multiple grant programs to support the training of career and technical education (CTE) teachers. Under the "Scholarships to Prepare Career and Technical Education Teachers" provision, institutions offering approved education programs would qualify to award scholarships of $5,000 per academic year (maximum of two years) to selected teacher candidates. After graduation, recipients would be obligated to serve as full-time CTE teachers at a secondary school for each year of scholarship support they received. Failure to comply would mean the previously awarded scholarship would be treated as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The bill would also cancel Federal Perkins Loans for eligible part-time public service.
 
Jobs for Justice Act
HR 5785 Sponsor:
Rep. Richmond (D-LA)
Co-Sponsors:
44 (0 R; 44 D)
Introduced:
5/11/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive bill would make several changes to several federal student aid programs. The bill would create a federal partnership grant with states and Indian tribes to waive tuition and fees for two years at eligible community colleges, as well as grant programs to waive or significantly reduce tuition and fees for eligible students at 4-year HBCUs and MSIs. This act would create a grant program to support employers hiring recent college graduates, and to compensate recent college graduates in taking additional STEM courses. The bill would allow Early College Pell Grants to be awarded to students enrolled in postsecondary courses offered in high schools in an amount up to the cost of four full-time postsecondary semesters. This early award would count toward the maximum period for which a student may receive Federal Pell Grants. The bill would also make Federal Pell Grants mandatory funding, setting the maximum Pell Grant award at $6,420 for award year 2020 and restoring the annual inflation-adjustment on the maximum award moving forward. In addition, the legislation would reinstate Pell eligibility for incarcerated individuals. The bill would also make adjustments to the Parent PLUS program, including reducing interest rates, eliminating origination fees, adding upfront counseling requirements, and the inclusion of Parent PLUS in income-contingent and income-based repayment plans. The bill would also extend PSLF to environmental health workers.
 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018
HR 1625 Sponsor:
Rep. Royce (R-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
40 (22 R; 18 D)
Introduced:
3/20/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the omnibus spending bill for federal fiscal year 2018, includes several unexpected victories for student aid programs. The bill provides an overall increase of $3.9 billion for the Department of Education (ED). It increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $175, provides a $107 million boost for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, and a $140 million increase for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. The bill also includes provisions addressing data-sharing restrictions and expanding Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
 Status: 3/23/2018: Signed into Law by President Trump
 
PROSPER Act
HR 4508 Sponsor:
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) 
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/1/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
Status: 12/13/2017: Passed House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
 
America's College Promise Act
HR 3709 Sponsor:
Rep. Scott (D-VA) 
Co-Sponsors:
4 (0 R; 4 D)
Introduced:
9/7/2017 
S. 2483 Sponsor:
Sen. Baldwin (D-WI)
Co-Sponsors:
13 (0 R; 13 D)
Introduced:
3/1/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The America's College Promise Act would provide free tuition at community colleges for a student's first two years and a tuition reduction for low-income students in their first two years at minority-serving institutions. Under the bill, to be eligible states would be required to put up 25% of the funds with other completion and outcomes requirements, while the federal government would contribute 75% of funds. 
 
FY 2018 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
S. 1771 Sponsor:
Sen. Blunt (R-MO)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
9/7/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, the bill that sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies, provides all funding for federal student aid programs for award year 2018-19. The bill would rescind $2.6 billion from the Pell Grant Program reserve. The bill calls for level funding for FSEOG and also for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. It also includes a $100 increase to the Pell Grant maximum award. 
 Status: 9/8/2017: Passed Senate Appropriations Committee
 
FY 2018 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
HR 3354 Sponsor:
Rep. Cole (R-OK)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/24/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill (originally HR 3358), the bill that sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies, provides all funding for federal student aid programs for award year 2018-19. The bill would rescind $3.3 billion from the Pell Grant Program reserve. The bill calls for level funding for FSEOG and also for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. It also includes increases to programs such as TRIO and Gear Up – at $60 million and $10 million, respectively.
 Status: 9/14/2017: Passed House of Representatives 
 
FY 2018 Budget Resolution 
H.Con.Res. 71 Sponsor:
Rep. Black (R-TN)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/21/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution provides a high-level overview of budget and funding priorities for FY 2018, which affects award year 2018-19.
 Status: 10/5/2017: Passed House of Representatives 
 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017
HR 244 Sponsor:
Rep. Cook (R-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
28 (19 R; 9 D)
Introduced:
5/3/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the omnibus spending bill for federal fiscal year 2017, includes the restoration of the "year-round Pell Grant" and a cut to the Pell Grant program surplus. In addition, the spending bill provides level funding for the Federal Work Study (FWS) and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) programs. 
 Status: 5/5/2017: Signed into Law by President Trump
 
College for All Act
S. 806 Sponsor:
Sen. Sanders (I-VT)
Co-Sponsors:
7 (0 R; 7 D)
Introduced:
4/3/2017
HR 1880 Sponsor:
Rep. Pramila (D-WA) 
Co-Sponsors:
35 (0 R; 35 D)
Introduced:
4/4/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive piece of legislation would create a grant program to states to eliminate tuition at public 4-year colleges and universities and tribal colleges for students from any family making $125,000 or less. The bill would cut interest rates and impose an interest rate cap of 5% for undergraduate borrowers and 8.25% for graduate and parent borrowers, while also allowing borrowers to refinance loans at the current interest rates. Any excess revenue in the Direct Loan Program would be redirected into to the Pell Grant Program. The bill would also increase Federal Work Study (FWS) authorized funding levels and revise the FWS allocation formula by eliminating the "base guarantee" component in the current formula. In addition, TRIO and GEAR UP would see increases to authorized funding levels. 
 
Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act
HR 1065 Sponsor:
Rep. Messer (R-IN)
Co-Sponsors:
59 (40 R; 19 D)
Introduced:
2/15/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would modify the federal budget and appropriations process by implementing a biennial process, meaning consideration of budget resolutions and appropriations bills would occur every two years. 
 
Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act
S. 306 Sponsor:
Sen. Isakson (R-GA)
Co-Sponsors:
16 (8 R; 8 D)
Introduced:
2/6/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would modify the federal budget and appropriations process by implementing a biennial process, meaning consideration of budget resolutions and appropriations bills would occur every two years. 

 

114th Session of Congress

 

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
HR 1314 Sponsor:
Rep. Meehan (R-PA, 7)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (2 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/4/2015
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bipartisan budget deal would raise the overall budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. The BCA automatically cuts from both defense and domestic funding until 2021, a process known as "sequestration." The budget deal would raise the sequestration-level budget caps for two years. The budget agreement also includes several non-budgetary policy items. Most relevant to the student aid community, the bill amends the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to allow loan servicers to use automated telephone equipment to call cellular phones for the purpose of collecting debts.
Status: 11/2/2015: Signed into law by President Obama

 

FY 2016 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
S. 1695 Sponsor:
Sen. Blunt (R-MO)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
6/25/2015
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The FY2016 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, the bill that sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies, provides all funding for federal student aid programs. The Senate bill included substantial cuts to both Federal Work Study (FWS) and SEOG.
Status: 6/25/2015: Passed out of Committee

 

FY 2016 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies
HR 3020 Sponsor:
Rep. Cole (R-OK, 4)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/10/2015
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: Unlike the Senate's appropriations measure, the House bill flat-funded both FWS and SEOG, but cut $70 million more from the Pell surplus.
Status: 7/10/2015: Passed out of Committee

 

Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2016
HR 2029 Sponsor:
Rep. Dent (R-PA, 15)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/16/2015
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: In a $1.1 trillion agreement, most student aid programs are flat-funded for FY16, which will affect award year 16-17. The package includes increases for the TRIO programs and GEAR UP. Though few programs see increases, some of the devastating cuts scattered across both the House and Senate bills have been remedied.
Status: 12/18/2015: Signed into law by President Obama

 

FY 2017 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
S. 3040 Sponsor:
Sen. Blunt (R-MO)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
6/9/2016
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, the bill that sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies, provides all funding for federal student aid programs. The Senate bill included flat-funding for Federal Work Study (FWS) and SEOG. Importantly, the bill cuts $1.2 billion from the Pell Grant surplus and restores year-round Pell without some of the provisions that caused implementation challenges in the last iteration. 
Status: 6/9/2016: Passed out of Committee

 

FY 2017 Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
HR 5926 Sponsor:
Rep. Cole (R-OK, 4)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
7/22/2016
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, the bill that sets the funding levels for several large domestic government agencies, provides all funding for federal student aid programs. The bill includes a $1.3 billion funding cut for the Pell Grant Program. Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill does not restore the year-round Pell Grant. The bill projects the Pell Grant maximum award at $5,935 for award year 2017-18. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS) would receive level-funding under this bill.
Status: 7/22/2016: Passed out of Committee

 

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Publication Date: 2/24/2021


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