NAICU Washington Update

Victory for Student Aid and an Admonition on Accreditation in House Bill

July 25, 2007

The FY 2008 education appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives on July 19 is a big victory for student aid funding this year, and also cautions the Department of Education to hold off on revamping accreditation.  

H.R. 3043 increases the Pell Grant maximum $390 (to $4,700), restores SEOG and LEAP funding, and increases the funding for TRIO and GEAR UP.  The bill spends $10 billion more than the president's request for the same agencies.  This has prompted administration statements that the president would veto the bill should it reach his desk with this total.   NAICU and the other groups working in support of the bill had hoped to see it pass with a veto-proof margin of 290, but the final vote of 276 to 140 fell short of that mark.  However, 15 members did not vote, and 14 of the Republicans who had earlier vowed to sustain the president's veto wound up voting for the bill.

Floor debate centered on attempts to cut back spending in the bill, but all failed.  There were no student aid amendments.

Regarding accreditation, the committee report noted "the Committee includes a new provision that prohibits funds under this Act from being used to promulgate, implement, or enforce any revision to the regulations in effect under section 496 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 on June 1, 2007, until legislation specifically requiring such revision is enacted."  The bill also reflects a shift in approach toward creating a national student record database (Click here for more).

The next step in the appropriations process is Senate consideration of the FY 2008 education spending bill, which has not yet been scheduled.  The Senate bill maintains level funding for the student aid programs.

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