In early May, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education (LHHS) funding bill, which would create a new, $150 million community college job training program and increase funding for a host of higher education and workforce training programs.
Overall, the bill provides $189.8 billion, an $11.7 billion increase (6.2%) over FY 2019. This increase is approximately 34% of the $34 million that House Democrats hope to add to non-defense programs in FY 2020, roughly proportionate to LHHS’s overall share of non-defense discretionary spending (30%). While House Democrats are writing appropriations bills assuming these aggregate spending levels, the budget will ultimately require enacted legislation signed by the president. A budget deal is not expected until later this year, and it is unclear that it will contain the ambitious targets set by the House Democrats. The House LHHS bill, therefore, could be a “high water mark” compared to the final legislation.
New Community College Program
The clear highlight of the bill for community colleges is the new $150 million Strengthening Community College Training Grants (SCCTG) program, championed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). SCCTG would expand community college workforce education capacity through competitive grants to community colleges as lead grantees, either individually or in consortia with other institutions of higher education. Committee report language provides a few more details about the proposed program, which is funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Dislocated Workers National Reserve account. Since the TAACCCT program ended, AACC has advocated for a successor program such as this one and strongly supports its inclusion in final funding legislation.
Department of Education
The House LHHS bill provides 6% more funding for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) than in FY 2019, for a total of $75.9 billion. That total includes increases for several community college priorities, some of which received bumps well above the overall departmental increase.
The bill increases the Pell Grant maximum award by $150, to $6,345, matching the rate of inflation over the prior year. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and the Federal Work Study programs were two of the biggest winners in the legislation, with increases of $188 million (23%) and $304 million (28%), respectively.
The legislation augments a group of institutional higher education programs by $431 million (19%), with an emphasis on minority-serving institutions. Historically Black Colleges and Universities ($93 million, 33%), Hispanic-Serving Institutions ($26 million, 21%), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities ($19 million, 59%) are all substantially boosted. Perennial AACC priority Title III-A Strengthening Institutions program was increased by $10 million (10%).
Other notable increases include the TRIO programs ($100 million, 9%), GEAR UP ($35 million, 10%) and Child Care Access Means Parents in School ($10 million, 20%). The CCAMPIS increase is particularly notable because it comes just two years after the program was increased from $15.1 million to $50 million.
Funding for Perkins Career and Technical Education and Adult Basic Education was increased collectively by $78 million (4.1%). This is a relative disappointment given other increases in the bill and the programs’ funding success in the last few years, along with last year’s Perkins V reauthorization. Of that increase, $47 million went to Perkins Basic State Grants and $31 million to Adult Basic Education.
Department of Labor
Overall funding for DOL is increased 10% (to $13.3 billion), with the Employment Training Administration raised by 7.6% ($10.6 billion). Here, too, some programs were enlarged substantially more than others.
Outside of the SCCTG program, funding for registered apprenticeship went up from the current $160 million to $250 million. At least 20% of these resources would have to go to apprenticeship intermediaries and 50% to states.
WIOA formula programs – adult, youth, and dislocated worker – are all increased approximately 6%. Other categorical programs (Native Americans, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, etc.) would also rise incrementally.