Legislative Update: FY 2019 Federal Education Funding Bill Passes

Congress passed a fiscal year 2019 appropriations package, H.R. 6157, “Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act 2019,” that includes full-year funding for programs under the Department of Education and Department of Labor. President Trump signed the bill into law on Friday.

Overall funding for education programs remains mostly level to the funding that was provided in fiscal year 2018. However, there were some funding increases to programs outlined below.

Pell Grants: The bill includes a $100 increase to the Pell Grant maximum award for the 2019-2020 academic year. This would bring the overall maximum award level to $6,195. Appropriators utilized the Pell Grant surplus to pay for the majority of costs associated with this increase. The bill also cuts another $600 million from the surplus in order to offset other funding in the bill. The Pell Grant program has a $7.4 billion surplus for FY 2018. Cuts to the surplus will have no immediate impact on award level or eligibility, but could accelerate and intensify any future shortfall.

Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE): CTE received a 5.9 percent increase of $70 million to the state grant portion of the program.

Adult Basic Education (ABE): State grants under adult education received a four percent increase of $25 million.

Federal TRIO Programs and GEAR UP: TRIO received a five percent increase of $50 million. GEAR UP received a 2.9 percent increase of $10 million.

Institutional Development: The bill includes a one percent increase for the following programs: Strengthening Institutions; Aid for Hispanic-Serving Institutions; Strengthening HBCUs; Strengthening Predominately Black Institutions; Strengthening Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities; Strengthening Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions; Strengthening Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions; and Strengthening Alaskan Native & Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions. These increases ranged from $40,000 to $3 million depending on the size of the program.

Apprenticeship Grants: The Department of Labor grant program received a $15 million increase.

Funding for the following programs remains level in the bill: Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants; State Grants under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; and Child Care Access Means Parents In School.

The bill also includes a new provision that will permit qualified individuals receiving treatment for cancer to defer repayment of their federal student loans without accrual of interest.

The full bill text may be viewed here: Conference report to HR 6157.

The corresponding joint explanatory statement may be viewed here: Statement of managers.

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