A House appropriations bill released this week leaves out new funding to restore summer Pell Grants, disappointing advocates who made that item a priority heading into the lame-duck session.
Congress must approve a new stop-gap spending bill by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
Restoring year-round funding of Pell Grants has been a goal of both parties since an agreement in 2011 to cut summer Pell over funding shortfalls. Students can receive up to $5,815 annually in Pell funding. With a $7.8 billion surplus in the program, higher education stakeholders and congressional Democrats had called on appropriators to use the lame-duck session to increase the value of the grants and restore funding for summer semesters.
Jonathan Fansmith, director of government relations at the American Council on Education, said the group supported restoring summer Pell but wasn't surprised to see it left out of the continuing resolution posted by House appropriators. And he said because the bill approves spending through April 28, it won't preclude lawmakers from adding money for summer Pell Grants in another spending bill next year.
The continuing resolution also includes $872 million for the 21st Century Cures Act, including $352 million for the National Institutes of Health Innovation Account. Higher ed groups including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities praised the passage of the Cures Act for its support of research and innovation.