Legislative Update: Letter on CTE Priorities for COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

April 3rd, 2020

Advance CTE and the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE) shared a letter this week that discusses the needs of state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Read below to learn more about how Coronavirus is impacting CTE, proposed new rules for higher education distance learning and innovation and how you can recognize April as Second Chance Month. 

Advance CTE and ACTE Write Letter with CTE Priorities for Next Stimulus
This week Advance CTE, in partnership with ACTE, wrote a letter to Congress outlining CTE needs that should be addressed in any additional Coronavirus legislation. The Coronavirus pandemic is impacting the nation’s educational and digital infrastructure, and the CTE community is not immune to these challenges. The letter details the priority areas that need new investments, including: distance learning; digital and physical infrastructure; professional development; equity and access and work-based learning. 

The letter also requests statutory flexibility to: establish a redistribution waiver for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), extend national emergency education waivers to all Perkins eligible agencies, rescind Perkins V supplement not supplant provisions for one year and expand pooling flexibility for Perkins funding. 

The full letter, with details on each priority, can be found here.

Department Proposes Regulations for Higher Education Distance Learning

On Wednesday, Secretary DeVos proposed new rules for Distance Learning and Innovation for higher education students. These regulations were part of the negotiated rulemaking process that began last year, but have been reinforced by the way that institutions are relying on distance learning due to the Coronavirus. The rule would propose measures such as: prioritizing demonstrated learning ahead of seat time; defining regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors; defining a juvenile justice facility; streamlining the requirements for direct assessment programs and; including employers in development of educational programs.

Final regulations were published to the Federal Register on Thursday and can be found here. The full statement from the Department can be viewed here

Administration Announces Second Chance Month

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that April 2020 will be recognized as Second Chance Month. According to the statement, Second Chance Month will “celebrate those who have set out to create better lives following incarceration and recommit to helping former inmates contribute to the strength and prosperity of our Nation.” The proclamation recognizes the actions that must be taken to reduce recidivism, including expanding Pell Grant eligibility so that those incarcerated are able to receive education and training. 

Expanding Pell Grants to include incarcerated learners is one of Advance CTE’s recommendations to be included in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Those recommendations can be viewed here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Phase Three Stimulus Bill Analysis and OCTAE Guidance

April 1st, 2020

The federal government is continuing to respond to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) through legislation and guidance. Read below to learn more about what was in the most recent stimulus bill and guidance affecting the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).

Administration Signs Phase Three Stimulus into Law

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), or the CARES Act into law. The CARES Act is the third stimulus package in response to Coronavirus and provides $2.2 trillion for economic relief and resources. There are a number of ways that Perkins V is implicated in the CARES Act. 

  • National Emergency Education Waivers
    This bill provides opportunities for the state educational agency (SEA), Indian tribe or local educational agency (LEA) to request waivers of certain statutory and regulatory provisions. The waiver request must name the federal programs affected, identify the statutory or regulatory requirements that need to be waived, explain how the pandemic prevents ability to comply with the statutory or regulatory requirements and detail how the SEA, Indian Tribe or LEA will prevent any downsides of the waiver. 30 days after enactment of the law, the U.S. Secretary of Education will provide a report to the Senate Committees on Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the House Committees on Appropriations and Education and Labor with additional recommendations or waivers under Perkins V and other federal laws. 

    However, 13 states currently have selected a state agency other than the SEA to administer the state’s Perkins funds, also known as the Perkins eligible agency.The CARE’s National Emergency Education Waiver language does not grant this waiver authority to these 13 state agencies with regard to Perkins. Advance CTE is actively advocating for this flexibility to be extended to all Perkins eligible agencies.

  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
    SEAs can apply for emergency relief grants to be used in elementary and secondary schools. Applications must be submitted within 30 days of this bill having been signed, and will be reviewed within 30 days. An LEA that receives money from this grant can use funding for activities under Perkins V, among other federal laws. 

Check out this blog post for additional information about what education and workforce programs are covered in the CARES Act. 

A fact sheet from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions can be found here and the full text can be viewed here

Department Shares Guidance on Perkins V During Coronavirus Pandemic 

On Tuesday, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education published guidance on Career Technical Education (CTE) in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. The guidance includes an extension for states to submit their Perkins V state plans from the original due date of April 15, 2020. If a state submits its plan by June 15, 2020, OCTAE will review by June 30, 2020 and the first installment of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Perkins funding will follow the July 1, 2020 schedule. If a state is unable to submit its plan by June 15, 2020, the Department will use authority to extend the transition plan period by three months (to September 30, 2020). In this instance the first FY20 Perkins funding installment will still take place on July 1, 2020, with the condition that the state will submit its full plan by September 15, 2020. 

Additionally, this guidance allows states to award a Perkins V subgrant to a local recipient before fully approving the local application. States can also grant local recipients more time to complete their local applications, beyond the original due date of July 1, 2020. 

A statement on the guidelines from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos can be found here.

You can find a full statement on this guidance from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) here.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Phase Three COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

March 27th, 2020

This week, Congress passed the third stimulus bill in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Read below to learn more about this phase includes, as well as additional measures the U.S. Department of Education is taking at this time. 

Congress Passes Legislation in Response to COVID-19

Earlier today, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748)- or the CARES Act- following the Senate passing of this bill on Wednesday night.The $2.2 trillion package provides economic relief and resources in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), including for education and workforce development programs. Some of the measures in the bill include: 

  • $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund for states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to Coronavirus. This includes: 
    • $13.5 billion for elementary and secondary education formula-grants for states;
    • $3 billion for Governors to allocate in an emergency capacity to state education agencies most affected; and
    • $14.25 for higher education emergency relief for postsecondary institutions to defray costs that they have incurred or will incur as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Authority for the Secretary of Education to provide waivers from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, except civil rights laws, that are necessary in response to Coronavirus;
  • Temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers to defer payments, principal and interest for 6 months. This also gives flexibility to students with federal student loans that dropped out of school as a result of Coronavirus;
  • Allows postsecondary students at institutions that closed because of Coronavirus to discount that semester toward their lifetime Pell eligibility; 
  • Continues federal work study payments to students who are no longer able to work as a result of closures;
  • Flexibility for local workforce boards to use Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds for administrative costs (such as digital resources); 
  • $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs to support training and services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers and homeless veterans; and
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to provide unemployment insurance for those who would not typically be covered, but cannot work as a result of Coronavirus.

A fact sheet from the Senate Committee on health, Education, Labor and Pensions can be found here and the full text can be viewed here

Next, this bill will go to the president to be signed into law and implemented. 

Secretary DeVos Orders Relief For Many Student Loan Borrowers

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department will temporarily stop student loan collections and wage garnishments. In addition, the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) will refund $1.8 billion to the 830,000 borrowers who were collected from since March 13, 2020- the date that President Donald Trump announced a hold on federal student loan interest collection, and the ability for borrowers not in default to suspend student loan payments for two months. More information can be found here.

Advance CTE Summarizes Department Resources

The U.S. Department of Education has a page on its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. Linked here are brief overviews from Advance CTE of what can be found in some of the K-12 materials. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so check back for future blogs!

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Congress and Administration Respond to COVID-19

March 19th, 2020

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Congress and the administration have been taking measures to support the country, including those impacted by the disruption in education. Read below to learn more about what is being done for students and teachers, as well as where to find additional resources. 

U.S. Department of Education Provides Coronavirus Resources 

The U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with Coronavirus resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department.     

Congress Moves Forward with Coronavirus Response Bill

On Wednesday, the Senate passed an emergency aid package in response to the Coronavirus crisis. This bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives early on Saturday morning. The multi-billion aid package provides economic relief measures, including:

  • Emergency paid leave and benefits; 
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance; 
  • Coverage of, and expanded access to, Coronavirus testing; and
  • Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for children who would receive free or reduced-price meals if schools were open.

The bill was then sent to the administration and signed into law. The full bill can be found here and a summary can be found here

President Trump Announces Hold on Federal Student Loan Interest

During a press conference about the federal response to Coronavirus on Friday, President Donald Trump announced  that interest on federal student loans would be eliminated “until further notice.” This will affect over 42 million Americans who owe more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding federal student loans.The U.S. Department of Education is currently working to further develop this plan and issue guidance on what this means for loan recipients and servicers.

On Tuesday, the Administration requested an additional $30 million from Congress to help support the Office of Federal Student Aid in response to the growing loan servicer costs as a result of the interest elimination. 

Congress Proposes Bill to Support Students During Coronavirus Crisis

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP)- with support from Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor- proposed the Supporting Students in Response to the Coronavirus Act. This bill is intended to support students, teachers and school staff as school closures continue due to Coronavirus. Early childhood programs, K-12 schools and institutions of higher education are all included in this legislation in a number of ways. Some of the measures in this proposal include: 

  • Resources to support schools in implementing and sustaining plans during school closures;  
  • Emergency financial aid for postsecondary students needing food, housing and child care; and
  • Relief for students from paying back student loans during semesters that have been disrupted.  

The full bill text can be found here and a summary can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Speech to Members of Congress Recognizes 100 Years of Advance CTE

March 6th, 2020

With the close of CTE Month, a speech was given to members of Congress recognizing Advance CTE’s centenary. Read below to learn about this speech, a hearing on the National Apprenticeship Act, a Senate hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal and an article that brings awareness to the impact of CTE funding.

Representative Thompson Delivers Speech for Advance CTE’s 100th Anniversary

On February 28, Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), delivered a speech to the House of Representatives to celebrate 100 years of Advance CTE. Representative Thompson is one of the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus along with Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI). During his speech to members of Congress, Representative Thompson called for “colleagues to please join me in celebrating 100 years of Advance CTE and everything they do to promote skills-based education and opportunity in life.”

House Holds Hearing on National Apprenticeship Act 

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee of the Education and Labor Committee hosted a hearing about “Reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act: Strengthening and Growing Apprenticeships for the 21st Century” on Wednesday. The hearing accompanied the introduction of a proposed National Apprenticeship Act reform. Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) both emphasized the important role that apprenticeships play in supporting the needs of workers, employers and communities. Both also spoke of the need to align apprenticeship programs with education pathways. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 aims to codify existing standards, as well as create new apprenticeship opportunities. 

Member opening statements as well as witness testimony can be found here and here. You can watch this Wednesday’s hearing here and read the full National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 discussion draft here

Secretary DeVos Testifies to Senate on Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy Devos testified to the Committee on Appropriations’s Subcomittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies about the administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. During the hearing, Secretary Devos spoke about the necessity of the proposed increase to CTE funding. She noted that this is a crucial time for CTE given the 2018 reauthorization of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), and current work that states are doing on their four-year Perkins V plans. Secretary DeVos shared that “many plans are very ambitious expanding the opportunities for students not just in high school, but in the middle school years, helping students to understand the multitude of options” that CTE programs can offer. Members, such as Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) expressed strong support for the CTE programs in their states.

Senators also expressed serious concern for other components of the President’s budget request, which would slash funding for many programs and include a new block grant program for K-12 education. Other discussions during the hearing involved the Department’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as bipartisan support for rural school funding.

Secretary DeVos’s testimony can be viewed here, and a full video of the hearing can be viewed here.

Article Shares the Impact of Federal CTE Funding 

In recognition of the end of CTE Month, Advance CTE in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) wrote about the impact of CTE funding and put out a call to double the federal investment. You can read the full article here. If you agree with the importance of federal funding for CTE share this article on Twitter, and be sure to tag @CTEWorks and @CTEMedia!

An excerpt from the article can be found below: 

“CTE cuts down on the high school dropout rate, saving our economy $168 billion per year while sending students to postsecondary education just as often as non-CTE students. Since 2011, 80,000 jobs that require a high school diploma or less have been created, while 11.5 million careers for workers with some postsecondary education have been added. CTE fills the skills gap while igniting the passions of the next generation.”

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: CTE Month Resolution and DeVos Testimony to House Appropriations Committee

February 28th, 2020

This week, the House introduced a resolution for CTE Month. Read below to learn more about the resolution, a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal, a stackable credential opportunity and new efforts to modernize federal student aid.

House Introduces Bipartisan Resolution for CTE Month 

On Wednesday, Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) introduced a resolution (H.Res.854) recognizing February as National CTE Month. Congressmen Langevin and Thompson are co-chairs of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and have long supported high-quality CTE policies. The resolution also recognizes 100 years of state leadership in CTE, as Advance CTE celebrates its centenary. 

You can read the full press release, including a quote from Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, here

Secretary DeVos Testifies to Congress on Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Committee on Appropriations’s Subcomittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies about the administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. The hearing showed bipartisan support for an increase in federal funding for CTE. Secretary DeVos spoke of the need for the $900 million increase in CTE funding that the administration requested. Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) both discussed the importance of CTE in their respective opening remarks.

The Secretary also voiced support for the Second Chance Pell Program. Many members asked questions about the functionality of the proposed consolidation of 29 programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one block grant. In addition, concern was shared by members about the elimination of the GEAR UP program, with Secretary DeVos responding that the intention is the program would ultimately be part of the Federal TRIO Program.  

Secretary DeVos’s testimony can be viewed here, and a video of the full hearing can be viewed here

U.S. Department of Education Launches Pathways to Credentials Project

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the technical assistance phase of its Pathways to Credentials project. The purpose of the initiative is to support community and technical colleges in including stackable industry recognized credentials within degree programs. Up to ten community and technical colleges will be selected from the pool of applicants to receive technical assistance in developing and implementing stackable credential opportunities. A webinar will be held on March 5, 2020 that will provide additional information, and applications are due on April 2, 2020.

Secretary DeVos Announces Updates to Federal Student Aid Customer Experience

Earlier this week, Secretary DeVos announced substantial updates to StudentAid.gov that provides students and their families with new tools and information to help guide them in choosing from student loan and aid programs. Specifically, some of these new features simplify the display for total aid options, including grants and loans. It also provides a loan simulator tool to help ‘test-drive’ what repayment plan would work best for them. Finally, a pilot program was included to simplify student loan payments by having a centralized location where payments could be made. Currently, payments must be made to each loan servicer – but the hope is that having a centralized location for payment will simplify the experience for those with loans.

This rollout is part of the Education Department’s Next Gen Federal Student Aid initiative, which is tasked with substantially changing and simplifying the federal student aid program.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Federal Work-Study Pilot and New Senate Bill

February 21st, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 190 participating institutions in a Federal Work-Study pilot program. Read below to learn more about what this pilot entails, a new community college and career training bill in the Senate and a site visit for CTE Month. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Participants in Federal Work-Study Pilot

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the 190 institutions that have been selected as part of a pilot program to support private sector employers in the Federal Work-Study program. This initiative is an experimental site, and participants will be granted waivers to use Federal Work-Study funds for work in the private sector. These experimental sites will also be able to pay low-income students for work-based learning required by academic programs- such as student teaching. Participating institutions will receive additional Job Location and Development program funds, as well as expanded allowable uses of funds.  

Senate Introduces Community College Innovation and Career Training Grants Legislation 

Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act, that would create a community college and career training grant program. These grant programs would provide funding to states and community colleges to be responsive to evolving labor market demands. The goal of the legislation is to support learner success and career readiness through work-based learning, support services such as career counselors and career pathways that address skills demands. 

CTE Month Celebrates T.C. Williams High School 

As part of CTE Month, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) led a visit to T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia to learn about high-quality CTE programs. Attendees included representatives from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), Capitol Hill staff and organizations. The visit included a panel of learners from different CTE programs within T.C. Williams. The school offers students a variety of CTE opportunities, and during the site visit participants were able to tour the following programs: Cybersecurity; Teachers for Tomorrow; Introduction to Health and Medical Sciences; Technical Drawing and Design; Television & Media Production and Academy of Finance: Economics and Personal Finance. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: White House Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal 

February 11th, 2020

Yesterday the White House released the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget proposal that asks for a $900 million increase in federal funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). This includes approximately:

  • $680 million allocated to the Basic State Grant; 
  • $83 million for National Programs, including the Innovation & Modernization Grant with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focus; and
  • $100 million in additional funds from H-1B visa fees.

This is the most significant increase in federal funding that has ever been proposed for CTE, and is aligned with Advance CTE’s Board of Director-led campaign to double the federal investment in CTE. You can read Advance CTE’s full statement on the budget proposal here

CTE has been chronically underfunded, and even in inflation-adjusted dollars funding is far below levels from decades ago. Over the past 40 years, CTE funding has increased by only 1.6 percent. CTE is one part of the education and workforce continuum, and robust funding for all education and labor programs is vital.

The Department of Education budget was proposed at 7.8 percent lower than the amount enacted in FY20, and included: 

  • Level funding for adult education programs;
  • An increase of $137 million for the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program;
  • An increase of $100 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA); 
  • Expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs and incarcerated individuals;
  • A cut of of over $600 million to Federal Work-Study;
  • Elimination of 11 programs, such as the State Longitudinal Data System and GEAR UP;
  • Elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness; and
  • A consolidation of 29 programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one block grant, and a decrease of Title I funding by $4.8 billion. 

The Department of Labor budget was proposed at 10.7 percent lower than the amount enacted in FY20, and included:

  • Level funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Employment and Training Activities; 
  • Level funding for WIOA Youth Activities; 
  • An increase of $25 million to registered and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs; 
  • A cut of $110 million to WIOA Dislocated Workers Employers and Training Activities; 
  • A cut of $10 million to YouthBuild programs; and
  • A cut of $5 million to Reentry Employment Opportunities program.

Next, Members of Congress will review this budget request and write their own FY21 appropriations bills. The President’s budget proposal may not necessarily be incorporated by the House or Senate, but it does signal what areas the administration deems as high priority. 

Below are additional resources: 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: CTE Month Proclamation and State of the Union Address

February 6th, 2020

February is Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, and to kick it off the administration recognized the importance of CTE in a proclamation and the State of the Union Address. Read below to learn more about how the president supports CTE, as well as a new grant program from the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize innovation. 

Administration Issues Proclamation on CTE Month

The administration released a proclamation recognizing February as CTE Month, reinforcing executive support for CTE and stating the need to expand high quality CTE programs. This proclamation shares that the president’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal to Congress “will include significant increases in funding for these programs.” The budget proposal will be released on Monday, February 10. Advance CTE staff will provide an update on what the budget means for CTE as details are released.

The proclamation also acknowledges the important role that CTE plays in preparing individuals for careers as the world of work continues to evolve. The statement shares that through efforts led by the National Council for the American Worker, more than 400 businesses have signed the Pledge to America’s Workers- committing to creating 14.5 million employment, training and education opportunities over five years. 

State of the Union Address Promises CTE Investment

During Tuesday’s annual State of The Union Address, President Donald Trump asked Congress to support a plan to “offer vocational and technical education in every single high school in America.” Although the President has not released a specific plan of how this would be achieved, his speech was aligned with the CTE Month Proclamation. This coordination emphasizes the administration’s prioritization of CTE.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a statement following the State of the Union. In this press release, Secretary DeVos applauds the commitment to issues such as CTE, higher education and Second-Chance Pell.  

U.S. Department of Education Announces New Flexibility Opportunities for States

Secretary DeVos announced that Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont have been approved for the Education Flexibility Program (Ed-Flex) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Through Ed-Flex, participating states will be able to waive some federal statutory or regulatory requirements in the name of supporting local innovation. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Appropriations Bills Finalized and Passed in House

December 18th, 2019

This week the final bill text and report language was released for all 12 Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and labor funding, and what comes next.  

Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

This week, there was movement forward for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process. On Monday, appropriators shared final language for all 12 appropriations bills that fund the government, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) bill. The 12 bills, totalling $1.4 trillion, were combined together into two spending bill packages, each referred to as a “minibus.” H.R. 1865 includes eight domestic and international appropriations bills: Labor-HHS-Ed, Agriculture, Energy and Water Development, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. The other, H.R. 1158, has four national security appropriations bills: Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services. 

H.R. 1865 allocates $12.4 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Labor, a $291 million increase over the FY19 level. The bill allocates $72.8 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Education, a $1.3 billion increase over the FY19 level.

It also adds an increase of $20 million for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State grants, for a total of $1.28 billion for FY20. Separately, $10 million for Career Pathways is included, with the intention of providing multiple pathways for learners to postsecondary and career success beginning in high school. 

The Labor-HHS-Ed bill include some notable increases for key education and workforce programs, such as: 

  • $40 million increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • $30 million increase for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants. 
  • $15 million increase for registered apprenticeship programs.
  • $6,345 for the maximum Pell Grant award, an increase of $150 over current award levels.
  • $50 million increase for Federal Work Study. 
  • $163 million increase for higher education programs, including:
    • $93 million increase for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) including Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities. 
    • $30 million increase for Federal TRIO programs and a $5 million increase for GEAR UP.

A press release from House appropriators can be found here and press release from Senate appropriators can be found here. The full Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill can be found here, and the Labor-HHS-Ed report including explanations here

On Tuesday, the House passed the bills, sending them to the Senate for debate and votes. 

Currently, federal funding is operating through a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), that is set to expire this Friday, December 20, 2019. This is the second CR of FY20.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

 

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