House Republicans’ 2024 Budget Proposal Looks to Slash Education Spending

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday forwarded its fiscal year 2024 spending plan to the full appropriations committee.

The bill contains an overall request of $67.4 billion to the Department of Education (ED), a reduction of $12.1 billion from the fiscal year 2023 enacted level and $22.6 billion less than the president’s budget request.

As unveiled, the House measure — which faces long odds at enactment in its current form due to its funding gap with the White House and the makeup of the Democrat-controlled Senate — would keep the maximum Pell Grant at $7,395 for 2024-25, after accounting for  mandatory add-ons and discretionary spending. 

The bill would also eliminate two campus-based aid programs — the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program and Federal Work-Study (FWS) — as well as ED’s office of communications. The GOP proposal also decreases funding for student aid administration to $1.8 billion, representing a 13% cut.

During Thursday's subcommittee markup, lawmakers formally began the process of moving the legislation through the chamber, which seeks to meet a September 30 deadline.

The panel advanced the Labor-H bill to the full committee by voice vote, but subcommittee Democrats dismissed the measure. 

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chair of the subcommittee said that the bill was far from perfect, but instead served as a “first step” to rein in fiscal spending in an effort to combat inflation.

On the other hand, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), ranking member of the full committee, called the bill shameful.

“Regardless of age or stage in life, this bill means you cannot count on government for any help,” DeLauro said. “These awful cuts will make it very hard for people and should not even be considered by this committee.”

The full committee is expected to review the bill as soon as July 27. 

As a reminder, the recently enacted debt ceiling law created a process for spending levels and requires Congress to complete the appropriations process before Jan. 1, 2024, otherwise the federal government would be subject to an automatic continuing resolution that would prevent a government shutdown by implementing a 1% funding cut from the previous fiscal year. This provision would only be in effect for fiscal year 2024 and 2025 spending bills.

 

Publication Date: 7/17/2023


Peter G | 7/20/2023 7:31:40 PM

@Ben - a budget expert can correct me, but I'm fairly sure the answer is that it's indirect. Federal budgeting for loans is based on CBO scoring of the value of new loans issued, which is influenced by the performance of the existing portfolio but not a direct addition/subtraction of current year activity.

So if the CBO assumes future loans will be not paid or written off at a certain rate, that impacts the future value of the loans being issued now. But they don't, to my understanding, just add the $39b to this proposal as a budget year expense.

Ben R | 7/17/2023 11:35:27 AM

How does the $39 billion in cancelled loans factor into this? Does that come out of current year funding, or is it off the books?

James C | 7/17/2023 10:59:39 AM

While I think we all agree college costs got out of hand over the past twenty years (due in part to state funding cuts but also colleges bloated spending), freezing or cutting federal grants and work-study is not the answer. At the very least, Pell should be indexed to inflation. The formulae for SEOG and work-study needs to be changed. It should take into account the value of college endowments along with % of Pell recipients, FTE enrollment and total tuition and fees revenue..

Darren C | 7/17/2023 9:3:30 AM

Cutting spending could be a good first step, however, there needs to be a lot more done in terms of how the failing education system with change to become more successful with less funding. Until the overall cost education in this country is lowered, no major improvements will come.

These politicians seems to get people to believe that throwing more money at something is always good, and less money is bad. More Pell is good, less is bad for example. And quotes like “Regardless of age or stage in life, this bill means you cannot count on government for any help,” We need a system that relies less on the Government for "help". Which again in this case just means more tax payer funds.

This is the same rinse and repeat discussion about more funding versus less. When will everyone wake up and start speaking about how it will take a much deeper change to truly improve education in this country?

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