House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2025 Budget Proposal Slashing Funding for FSA Administration, Campus-Based Aid Programs

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

The House Appropriations Committee, in a marathon mark-up session on Wednesday, advanced Republicans’ fiscal year 2025 bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which would bring significant cuts to programs that provide financial assistance to students pursuing postsecondary education.

The bill, which advanced by a vote of 31-25, would impact the 2025-26 award year and contains an overall request of $72 billion for the Department of Education (ED), a decrease of $10 billion below the 2025 request made from the Biden administration, and a 13% decrease with 2024 levels. In March, the Biden administration proposed $82 billion in federal discretionary spending for ED in 2025.

Overall, the bill would allot $23.5 billion for the federal student aid programs, a decrease of $1.1 billion below the 2024 level and $3.2 billion below the Biden administration’s 2025 request. Of that amount, $22.5 billion would be allotted for the federal Pell Grant program, which is equal to the 2024 level, and $2.1 billion below the Biden administration’s 2025 request. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2025-26 year would remain unchanged from 2024-25, at $7,395.

ED would receive about $1.5 billion to administer student aid programs, a 26% cut from FY 2024, whereas the Biden administration requested $2.7 billion.

The FSEOG program would be funded at $455 million, about half of the 2024 level and the Biden administration's 2025 request. Likewise, funding for FWS would also be cut in half, at $615 million.

NASFAA Vice President of Public Policy & Federal Relations Karen McCarthy said that while NASFAA appreciates bipartisan commitment to preserving both the Pell Grant program and the program’s reserve fund, cuts to FSA and the campus-based aid programs will disproportionately impact many low-income students. 

“Cutting funding for programs that provide financial assistance to students pursuing a postsecondary education is short-sighted and will only harm our nation in the long-run,” McCarthy said. “Certainly, curbing funding for the very programs that in many cases make all the difference for financially needy students is not the way to encourage talented students to pursue a postsecondary degree or credential.”

During the mark-up, committee Chairman Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said the bill would ensure that tax dollars are used in a way that would maximize benefits for the investments the legislation makes in education, health care, and the workforce.

“The bill reins in the Biden Administration’s burdensome overreach and divisive policy agenda,” Cole said. “We protect taxpayers from infringement of their due process rights and religious liberties, as well as President Biden’s forced attempts to charge them with loans of others.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn), who serves as ranking member of the committee, warned that Republicans’ current version of the bill would create needless chaos around the appropriations process and said that the education provisions of the bill would “abandon” students. She also took issue with rhetoric from Republicans that have called for eliminating the Department of Education.

“This is not a new idea,” DeLauro said. Republicans have been explicitly signaling their goal of eliminating the Department of Education for decades.”

DeLauro urged the committee to instead work toward a bipartisan bill — like they eventually agreed upon in the previous fiscal year.

The committee considered a litany of amendments throughout the day-long mark-up, with many touching on the other departments housed within the bill.

“I’m going to vote against this bill — that’s not surprising,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who summed up the process of the mark-up. “You’re going to vote for the bill and we will have some superficial discussion on amendments.”

The legislation now heads to the House floor, where appropriators will try to wrap up their work before the August recess.

Meanwhile, the Senate has just begun to consider its annual appropriations bills but has not yet unveiled its companion measure to the House bill.

 

Publication Date: 7/11/2024


Marian M | 7/11/2024 12:18:32 PM

Vote Democrat

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