COABE NCSDAE Legislative Report

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Budget Alert!

The Budget provides $59.9 billion for education appropriations for FY 2019, a total that it characterizes as a cut of $7.1 billion (10.5 percent) from the 2017 enacted level. 

The President's Budget for FY 19 proposes to cut Adult Education State Grants from the annualized FY 18 level of $578 million to $485.8 million, a reduction of $92.2 million. National Leadership grants increase from $13.6 million to $13.7 million.

The Administration's Budget Explanation is as follows:

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act was reauthorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which promotes alignment of the Adult Education programs with Federal job training programs and the postsecondary education system.

The request provides $485.8 million for Adult Education State Grants, $92.2 million below the fiscal year 2018 annualized Continuing Resolution level. The request reflects the tough decisions needed to achieve the President's goal of increasing support for national security and public safety without adding to the Federal budget deficit. States and providers across the country are still working to implement changes in adult education requirements made as a result of the enactment of WIOA in July 2014; future decisions regarding the program will be informed by the statutorily required program evaluation and performance data based on the full implementation of WIOA. 

The program assists adults without a high school diploma or the equivalent to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, employment, and economic self-sufficiency. Funds proposed for National Leadership Activities would continue to support efforts to increase the literacy and workforce skills of adults.

In general, the Budget provides $59.9 billion for education appropriations for FY 2019, a total that it characterizes as a cut of $7.1 billion (10.5 percent) from the 2017 enacted level.  

  • Eliminates two large elementary and secondary education programs - The budget eliminates all funding for both Title II (supporting effective instruction state grants), currently funded at $2.0 billion, and 21st-century community learning centers, funded at $1.2 billion. 
  • Increases and new funding for elementary and secondary education -
    • School choice - a total of $1.1 billion, which represents new programs and increases for existing programs.  That total includes $500 million for a new school choice grant program including "expanding existing private school choice programs to serve more low-income and at-risk students," new models, and the portability of government funding to follow students to their whatever public school they choose to attend.  It also includes $500 million for public charter schools (an increase of $158 million over current funding) and $98 million for magnet schools (frozen at current levels).
    • Special education (IDEA state grants ) - $12.8 billion, an increase of more than $800 million.  Without more detail, I can't yet tell whether it is increasing or cutting special education research.
    • School Climate Transformation Grants - $43 million to help school districts implement school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies.
    • Frozen funding for elementary and secondary education programs - The budget freezes funding for career and technical education programs at $1.1 billion, and for magnet schools at $98 million.
  • Cuts and changes to higher education appropriations
    • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants - the budget eliminates this $733 million program. 
    • GEAR-UP and TRIO programs - The budget consolidates these programs and slashes their current combined $1.3 billion in funding into one $550 million state grant program.
    • Minority-Serving Institutions - The budget cuts funding for Minority-Serving Institutions by consolidating six programs into one $147.9 million formula grant program.  (Until I see more detailed information, I can't tell which programs these are and how that compares to current funding.)  Most current programs are competitive grants, not formula grants.
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) - The budget says it provides $642 million to support "HBCU-focused programs" - without more detail about which programs this counts, I can't compare to current funding.
    • Work Study - The budget changes the program, but I can't tell yet how much the funding is cut.
  • Cuts to student loans - In addition to the cuts to appropriations, the budget cuts $203 billion from student loan programs over ten years (FY 2019-2028).  (Note on scoring for mandatory programs: unlike changes to appropriations, which are measured by the change in budget authority from one year to the next, changes to mandatory programs are measured by how much they change spending over ten years compared with the Office of Management and Budget's baseline that projects spending under current law.  Congress's non-partisan budget estimators, the Congressional Budget Office, will re-score the President's budget using its own economic and programmatic assumptions, and I think the student loan costs will change significantly.  Congress will use CBO scoring for any legislation it proposes.)  The budget appears to grandfather existing borrowers and those in the midst of a "current course of study," with new provisions taking effect on all other loans starting in July 2019. The cuts to mandatory higher education spending are:
  • Replacing current income-driven repayment plans with one new one (cuts $128.4 billion over ten years) - The new income-driven repayment plan caps a borrower's monthly payment at 12.5 percent of discretionary income.  Undergraduate borrowers would have any remaining balance forgiven after 15 years of repayment, but the graduate-student debt would not be forgiven until after 30 years of repayment.  This is a different from the proposal in the House's proposed reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HR 4508).
  • Eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (cuts $45.9 billion over ten years) - This is also part of HR 4508.
  • Eliminating subsidized student loans (cuts $28.6 billion over ten years) - These loans are only available to undergraduates anymore.  They are subsidized in that interest does accrue while the student is in school.  This is also part of HR 4508.
  • Eliminating account maintenance fees to guaranty agencies (cuts $656 million).
  • Using existing Pell mandatory funds to support short-term training programs (uses $401 million over ten years) - The budget makes Pell grants available to students pursuing training in "high-quality short-term programs...more quickly than traditional two-year or four-year degree programs."
  • The Budget includes an Addendum that increases funding for some programs:
    • Impact Aid - an additional $525 million, which restores a large cut in the original budget
    • TRIO - an additional $400 million, which also restores a large cut in the original budget
    • School choice - an additional $500 million, bringing the total request for new grants to $1 billion.
    • Work Study - an additional $300 million, bring the total request to $500 million, which is still a cut of $490 million below current levels.
    • Pell grant rescission - the addendum eliminates the budget's $1.6 billion rescission of previously appropriated Pell grant funding.

It is important to note that the President's Budget follows upon a bi-partisan agreement to raise the discretionary caps for non-defense spending in both FY 2018 and 2019 and that the Congress has a history of disagreeing with the Administration's proposed cuts.

We must take this proposal seriously and continue to explain to Members of Congress why it is important to continue to invest in Adult Education.