By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter
As congressional Democrats move forward with their drafting of a massive reconciliation package, attention is turning towards the House Education and Labor committee which could take up, and advance, their portion of the measure as soon as this week.
That speedy timeline is drawing the ire of Republicans.
Prior to the holiday weekend, the committee’s ranking member Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) called upon chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), to be transparent in the legislation’s actual drafting and to provide all members with “ample” time to review the bill.
In her letter, Foxx argued that the “unprecedented” size and scale of the pending legislation, “provide compelling reasons for you to release a draft of the text as soon as possible,” the letter reads.
As we wait for more details on the actual text of the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, here are some specific policies that NASFAA is following throughout this process:
— Double Pell: The administration has pledged to double the maximum Pell Grant award and as a part of the annual appropriations cycle both the president and House Democrats have included a $400 increase in discretionary funding to the maximum Pell Grant that would boost the 2022-23 maximum award to $6,895. In the American Families Plan released in April, the administration proposed an additional increase of $1,475 in mandatory funding to the maximum award. Because the reconciliation process typically makes changes in mandatory spending, the administration could use this package as a legislative vehicle for the $1,475 mandatory increase already proposed in the American Families Plan.
— Free community college: As previously noted, President Joe Biden has unveiled a plan that would provide two years of free community college, a proposal that could find its way into the legislative text of a reconciliation package.
— DACA: Democrats have also floated the idea of codifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law by using the budget reconciliation process, but it is unclear at this time whether the Senate’s parliamentarian will rule that the language abides by the strict budget rules.
— Campus-based aid programs: House appropriators and the White House have proposed increases for the campus-based aid programs which include boosting the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal TRIO programs, GEAR UP, and Career technical education (CTE) programs.
The House Education and Labor committee plans to mark up the reconciliation bill on Thursday September 9.
Stay tuned to Today’s News for coverage of this week’s potential markup and more details on the highly anticipated spending plan as it moves through congress.
Publication Date: 9/8/2021
Ben R | 9/8/2021 2:57:16 PM
To answer the question though, no, if it exceeds COA. Presumably aid would still be limited to total COA. If tuition plus Pell exceeds COA, then Pell would simply pay the difference between COA and tuition, or the free tuition subsidy would not apply if someone's Pell covers all of it.
David S | 9/8/2021 1:48:37 PM
James, if a student attending free community college receives a $13,000 Pell Grant, good for them. They'll also be able to pay for rent, food, textbooks, a computer and transportation to and from campus. For low income students, the inability to take care of indirect costs are often the obstacle that prevent them from completing their degree or enrolling in the first place. Enough money to get squared away with the Bursar's Office alone isn't enough.
Holly H | 9/8/2021 12:54:25 PM
Will students at Technical Colleges also be given funding for students?
James C | 9/8/2021 8:29:12 AM
Would community college student receiving free tuition also be receiving an annual $13,000 pell grant? That seems excessive.
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