House Subcommittee Approves FY 2011 Education Funding to Assist Low-Income Students
Jul 22, 2010
By Marcie W.M. Foster and Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield
The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education recently approved a bill that is consistent with the President’s FY 2011 budget request for key education programs that can help low-income adults access and complete postsecondary education.
Although this bill is only the first step in the federal appropriations process, it sends an important message that the nation needs targeted education and training investments so more low-income students and workers can access education and training to help them gain skills needed in our recovering economy.
Most notably, the bill increased funding for Pell Grants, which more than eight million low-income students rely on each year for tuition-related expenses, by almost $5.7 billion. This increase would cover the looming funding shortfall and is necessary to ensure students continue to receive aid.
Unverified reports indicate that other student aid programs did not fare as well. Gear Up, TRIO, Federal Work-Study, and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants received flat funding or modest increases, and the bill eliminated the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) Grants program.
The subcommittee approved $1.9 billion for career and adult education, equal to the President’s budget request. According to reports, President Obama’s request for funding for the adult education portion of these funds was also matched at $612 million, which reflects a decrease of $16 million from the previous fiscal year. While this decrease is unfortunate, it’s important to note that last year’s appropriations included a one-time increase to correct for several years of federal accounting errors that prevented states from receiving the total funding that they were entitled to under the budget.
Recent findings show that, due to insufficient funding, the number of individuals on adult education waiting lists has doubled since 2008, and the problem is expected to continue until Congress increases appropriations for adult education. A recent report from the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE) found that just $160 million in additional appropriations would allow states to serve those currently on waiting lists.
The Senate is expected to markup the bill before the August recess.