Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Passes FY18 Labor HHS Education Spending Bill

The Senate LHHS-Ed Subcommittee on Appropriations approved by voice-vote an FY 2018 spending bill that provides $68.3 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, $29 million above the FY2017 level. While the headline of this bill is a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and additional money to combat opioid abuse, the bill is particularly noteworthy for preserving education programs that the House decided to cut or eliminate entirely (such as Title IIA). Additionally, this bill provides very little additional money for President Trump’s proposed choice initiatives, delivering but a slight increase to the existing Charter Schools account and providing no support for any new voucher programs. Despite being largely flat funded, the teachers unions, principals groups, and many education groups are chalking this up as a win in light of the threat of elimination. Even Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) declared the bill “bipartisan” even if still underfunded. The full Committee will take up this bill tomorrow.

As far as key K-12 programs go, the Title II-A received level funding of $2.05 bill, a significant comeback for a program that President Trump and the House Appropriations Committee had decided to kill. The Title IV-A flexible block grant received a $50 million increase bringing its total to $450 million in its second year of funding. While this program received only a slight increase, with the House actually approving a higher figure, many education groups feel that it is still severely underfunded in comparison to its $1.6 billion authorization level.

Higher education programs also received increases in the Senate bill, including the first discretionary increase in the maximum Pell grant in over a decade, a 1.7 percent increase, from $5,920 to $6,020 and funding to continue year round Pell grants. The bill also restores Pell eligibility for defrauded students due to school closures. Lastly, the TRIO program received a $3 million bump to $953 million annually.

The full text of the bill will not be released for another day or two, but below please see the funding levels for the programs that have been released to the public:

Program Name FY 16 Omnibus FY17 Omnibus FY18 POTUS FY18 House FY18 Senate
Charter Schools $333.1M $342.2M $500M $370M $367M
CTE Grants $1.125B $1.25B $976.9M $1.25B $1.1B
English Language $737.4M $737.4M $736M 737.4M
i3 (Now Education, Innovation, and Research $120M $100M $370M $0
IDEA, Part B $11.912B $12.002B $11.890.2B $12.03B $12B
Promise Neighborhoods $73.2M $73.2M $60M $60M
School Leadership $16.3M $14.5M $0 $0
State Assessments $378M $369.1M $377.3M $369M
Teacher Effectiveness (Title II) $2.349B $2.0558B $0 $0 $2.05B
Title I $14.909B $15.460B $15.881.5B $15.460B $15.5B
Title IV Block Grant $400M $0 $500M $450M