Congress Releases Sprawling Fiscal Year 2024 Spending Package With Retention of Maximum Pell Grant and Minor Cuts to ED

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

Congressional appropriators, early Thursday morning, released text for their final $1.23 trillion spending package for fiscal year 2024, mostly containing cuts and flat funding to programs housed within the Department of Education (ED). 

While funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill is slated to expire on Friday March 22, Congress is expected to work through the weekend to enact the package in an effort to stave off a partial government shutdown. A partial shutdown could still take place since the House will only start to vote on the bill this Friday. However, since the package contains bipartisan support, it is likely that full passage will only be delayed by a few days at most.

Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in releasing the bill text and highlighted a number of investments made in the bill and how it rejected the initial cuts proposed included in earlier versions of the House plan.

“Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were able to come together and complete the business of funding the United States government for 2024 with this second and final six-bill funding package,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations. “With strong investments in education and job training and placement programs, we are siding with the hardworking majority of Americans.”

The appropriations bill would allocate $79.1 billion to ED and its programs, a $201 million decrease (after accounting for earmarks) from the fiscal year (FY) 2023 enacted level. Specifically, the spending package contains $24.6 billion for federal student aid programs, which maintains the maximum Pell Grant award at $7,395 for the 2024-25 award year. 

According to House Democrats, the deal protects “the historic $900 increase to the maximum award secured in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.”

Campus-based aid programs would see flat funding, with $910 million allocated for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program and $1.2 billion allocated for Federal Work-Study (FWS), the same funding as provided in the FY 2023 enacted level. In a proposal introduced last year, House Republicans originally proposed eliminating both campus-based aid programs.

The bill provides $2.18 billion for career, technical, and adult education, $10 million below the FY 2023 enacted level, and $171 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which includes $10 million for basic needs grants and $45 million for Postsecondary Student Success grants. 

The proposal contains an additional $3.3 billion for higher education programs, $15 million less than the FY 2023 enacted level. Included in this $3.3 billion is:

  • $908 million to support minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), $8 million more than the FY 2023 enacted level

  • $1.2 billion for Federal TRIO programs and $388 million for GEAR UP, both of which are equal to the FY 2023 spending levels

  • $70 million for Teacher Quality Partnerships, equal to the FY 2023 spending levels

The legislation also includes language that would add a slight increase in funding for student aid administration, at $2.06 billion, $25 million above the FY 23 enacted level. 

Once President Joe Biden has signed this legislation the maximum Pell Grant amount for 2024-25 will be final. 

This bill will complete the fiscal year 2024 spending cycle, allowing lawmakers to turn to the fiscal year 2025 budget. The Biden administration recently published its budget request for fiscal year 2025, which serves as a starting point for congressional negotiations. Congress has until September 30, 2024 to finalize those numbers.

Stay tuned to Today’s News for updates on the bill’s consideration.


Publication Date: 3/22/2024

Clay B | 3/22/2024 5:29:36 PM

We have been informed several times that there will not be "2024-25 Pell Grant payment and disbursement schedules" yet the article says, "Once President Joe Biden has signed this legislation, ED can then begin to flesh out the 2024-25 Pell Grant payment and disbursement schedules."

James C | 3/22/2024 4:23:36 PM

Yes I was pointing out it was a typo. It is fixed now.

Gary R | 3/22/2024 12:13:53 PM

I think they're saying it was a typo, not disagreeing with any policy. The total of the funding is 3.3 billion, so that one line item has to be 908 million, not billion.

James C | 3/22/2024 11:48:38 AM

I’m a different James C and couldn’t disagree more with the previous JC comments.

Tricia S | 3/22/2024 10:51:14 AM

James C apparently wants an ignorant electorate, therefore, I think his comment should be ignored not considered valid.

James C | 3/22/2024 8:13:03 AM

I think this should be million not billion. "$908 billion to support minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), $8 million more than the FY 2023 enacted level."

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