Legislative Update: House Appropriations Bill and Announcements from ED


Legislative Update: House Appropriations Bill and Announcements from ED

This week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released its Fiscal Year 22 (FY22) funding bill. Read below to learn more about the proposed increase for Career Technical Education (CTE) and other implications for the CTE community, as well as new information from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) about stimulus funding, federal aid and department appointees. 
House Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY22 Bill
Written by Alisha Hyslop, Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here.

On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee released the first draft of its FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which funds education and workforce development programs including Perkins. In the bill, the Perkins Basic State Grant received a $50 million increase over the FY21 level, and $30 million above what the President recommended in his budget proposal in May, for a total funding level of $1.38 billion. While this is still not enough to meet the critical needs in CTE as the economy and educational system recover from the pandemic, it is a step in the right direction.
The bill also matched the President’s request for a $100 million competitive grant program to carry out evidence-based middle and high school career and technical education innovation programs, although few details are included about what this program would entail. Few details are also included about a piece of legislative language that is dropped into the bill to more closely tie apprenticeship programs to Perkins, but more information on that provision will be available as the Committee releases more supporting documents.
Overall, the bill provides $14.7 billion for the Department of Labor, an increase of $2.2 billion above the FY21 level, and a total of $102.8 billion for the Department of Education, an increase of $29.3 billion above the FY21 level. Most of the increases, particularly at the Department of Education, are concentrated on a few large programs that were campaign priorities of the Biden Administration, including Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which received a $19.5 billion increase (more than doubling its current funding), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which received a $3.1 billion increase, and Pell Grants, where the maximum annual award for each student was increased by $400 to a total of $6,895. Additional funding levels of interest to the CTE community include:

  • Federal Work Study – $43 billion, a $244 million (21%) increase over FY 2021
  • ESEA Title II – Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants – $2.3 billion, a $150 million increase over FY 2021
  • ESEA Title IV-A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – $1.3 billion, an $85 million increase over FY 2021
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants – $3.1 billion, an increase of $250 million above the FY 2021 level
  • Registered Apprenticeships – $285 million, an increase of $100 million above the FY 2021 level
  • Strengthening Community College Training Grants – $100 million, an increase of $55 million over the FY 2021 level
  • Adult education – $738.7 million, a $50 million increase over FY 2021

The bill was considered briefly by the Subcommittee on July 12 and approved by voice vote. A report on the draft bill was released on July 14. Additional discussion and amendments are expected in the full Appropriations Committee markup, scheduled for Thursday, July 15, then the bill will need to be approved by the full House, and a similar process will begin in the Senate. There is a long way to go in this year’s appropriations process, so stay tuned for additional information and opportunities to take action!
ED Approves First State K-12 Stimulus Plans 
ED announced the approval of the first seven American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) state plans and distributed remaining funds to those states. The seven approved states and funding levels include:

  • Arkansas: $418,634,738
  • Massachusetts: $611,331,608 
  • Rhode Island: $138,468,766 
  • South Dakota: $127,339,745 
  • Texas: $4,148,464,081 
  • Utah: $205,578,303 
  • Washington, D.C.: $128,932,230 

The state plans share how each state will use the ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the operation of schools, as well as address the needs of students, including by equitably expanding opportunities for students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 40 states have submitted plans, and you can view submitted and approved plans here. ED is also working with states that were unable to submit plans by the June 7 deadline. 
ED Announces Temporary Changes to the Federal Aid Verification Process
On Tuesday, ED announced temporary changes to the federal student aid verification process for the 2021-2022 academic year with the intention of providing relief to millions of students and colleges impacted by the pandemic. Verification is an administrative process by which ED requires a subset of federal aid applicants who are eligible for Pell Grants to submit additional documentation to verify the information in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Because non-Pell-eligible applicants are not included in income verification, the process can be disproportionately burdensome for students from low-income households and students of color. The temporary changes to the verification process will focus on identity theft and fraud, and will be coupled with tools ED already uses to monitor suspicious activity. 
ED Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees
More political appointees to ED were announced to lead various parts of the agency, including: 

  • Katy Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
  • Toby Merrill, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
  • Hayley Matz Meadvin, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
  • Chris Soto, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
  • Antoinette Flores, Senior Advisor for ARP Implementation, Office of Postsecondary Education
  • Deven Comen, Chief of Staff, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Abel McDaniels, Special Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy