NAICU Washington Update

Two-Week Continuing Resolution Kills LEAP

March 04, 2011

President Obama has signed a two-week continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the federal government running until March 18, but the CR also kills funding for the LEAP state grant program for FY 2011.

The House passed the short term spending bill March 1, by a vote of 335 to 91.  The Senate passed the bill on March 2, and the President signed it into law later the same day.

Elimination of the $64 million for LEAP state grant funding could be felt by students soon.  LEAP funds would have gone to states on July 1, for states to match and make available to students at public and private colleges for the 2011-12 academic year.  This modest federal grant funding helps generate over $1 billion in need-based aid nationwide.  NAICU will closely monitor whether cash-strapped states continue to keep up their need-based grant funding, even without the federal requirements.

What's Next?

The two-week CR avoids a government shutdown, at least for now, and gives the Senate more time to write its version of H.R. 1.  The version passed by the House in February cuts $100 billion from last year's levels, including massive cuts to student aid. This Student Aid Alliance fact sheet summarizes what's at stake for student aid.

The White House has started negotiations with congressional leaders to finalize the budget for the remaining seven months of FY 2011, and has already conceded that more cuts can be expected.

While Congress and the White House exchange barbs over the state of federal spending, NAICU has asked presidents to activate their campus communities.  In addition, NAICU founded and co-chairs the Student Aid Alliance, which provides common tools and and a coordinated voice for all student aid supporters.  New tools, including a redesigned website, will be available soon.

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