NAICU Washington Update

House Committee Appears Set to Approve FY 2023 Student Aid Funding

June 30, 2022

In keeping with its goal of passing all appropriations bills before the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, the House Committee on Appropriations is busy this week holding mark ups on several bills.  Of note for higher education is the FY 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee bill, which funds student aid. 

Once this bill is approved, as it is expected to be, the committee will have covered all 12 of the total appropriations bills before taking a break for the July 4 recess.

As reported last week, the House bill proposes to increase the Pell Grant maximum by $500 for award year 2023-24, and provide increases to all student aid programs.  Higher education programs supporting institutional development, teacher preparation, childcare and other student supports are also slated for funding increases. 

In addition to these funds, the full committee bill includes details of programs funded under the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), which is the funding category for innovative higher education grant programs, pilot programs, and community projects or “earmarks.”  Overall, FIPSE has $520 million in this bill, of which $209 million is for community project funding and $311 million for 12 special programs. A few FIPSE programs of note include $15 million for Basic Needs Grants; $15 million for Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success; $5 million for Emergency Aid Grants to help students with small, unexpected costs that cause barriers to completion; $10 million for a Matched Savings Program for Pell-eligible students; and $200 million for Postsecondary Student Success Grants.  

The bill’s accompanying report language provides insight into the committee’s views on many issues, including some provisions it is including in the legislative language of the bill.  The topics included in this year’s bill are particularly notable because they would traditionally be discussed and legislated through the authorization process, but there has not been a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in more than a decade. 

There are several provisions of particular interest, including: language extending eligibility to DACA students for all Title IV student aid programs; language reinstating the 85/15 rule requiring for-profit institutions to have not more than 85% of their revenue from federal funds; and a deep look at Online Program Management (OPM) companies and their relationships with colleges and universities. 

The committee also details its interest in the disclosure of the gender, racial, and ethnic composition of college and university governing boards. It notes its “ongoing effort to increase transparency and promote inclusive and equitable educational institutions.” It asks the Department of Education to collect such data in IPEDS surveys and other postsecondary data collection efforts for future review. 

Finally, the report notes that the committee is waiting for a briefing from the Department on how the agency will work with institutions to improve college cost transparency. 

The next steps for the spending bill will take place this fall.

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