NAICU Washington Update

Government Shutdown Averted; TA Benefits Reinstated

March 22, 2013

Updated March 28, 2013

On March 26, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, a bill that will head off a government shutdown, and fund all agencies through the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The bill, which passed by votes of 73-26 in the Senate and 318-109 in the House, also forced reinstatement of the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance (TA) programs at the military branches that had already suspended them as part of sequestration cuts. 

While this continuing resolution (CR) marks the finale of the FY 2013 funding process, it does not reverse the sequestration order that went into effect March 1. There had been attempts to use the bill to undo the sequester trigger, but those efforts were dropped for fear of causing a government shutdown.

DOD Tuition Assistance Benefits Will Continue

The CR protects funding for most Department of Defense TA benefits for the remainder of FY 2013. Under an amendment offered by Sens. James Inhofe (R-O.K.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), TA benefit cuts may not exceed the percentage reduction required by the budget sequester. That provision reverses decisions previously made by the Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps to suspend their TA programs (see earlier article in Washington Update).  Earlier, NAICU had joined 13 other higher education associations in a letter to Defense Secretary Hagel asking that he reconsider the decision to discontinue the TA benefits.

Impact On Student Aid Funding

Under the CR, Pell Grants are funded to provide the $5,635 maximum grant, and are protected from sequestration. However, the campus-based aid programs, TRIO, GEAR UP, and graduate education are all cut: they will be funded at FY 2012 levels minus the 5 percent sequestration penalty. The Department of Education has not yet released official numbers, but this is NAICU’s understanding of how the programs would be funded starting July 1, 2013:

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: $697.6 million, $36.9 million below FY 2012

Federal Work Study: $927.5 million, $49.1 million below FY 2012

TRIO: $797.1 million, $42.2 million below FY 2012

GEAR UP: $287 million, $15 million below FY 2012

Graduate Education: $29.3 million, $1.5 million below FY 2012 (GAANN and Jacob J. Javits programs were consolidated in FY 2012. The CR allows 100 recipients to receive their last year of Javits fellowship funding.)


For more information, contact: (Overall CR) (TA Programs)

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