April 12, 2018
In March the House approved a $1.3 trillion federal spending package, which includes a $3.9 billion increase for the US Department of Education. Sheryl Cohen, the executive director of the nonprofit Committee for Education Funding, had this to say about the funding boost: “Congress has produced a Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations package that provides real increases for education…the first time in many years that Congress is addressing the need to support education.” The increased funding is especially gratifying given that the administration had proposed a budget cut of $9 billion, including reductions in funding for the department’s Office for Civil Rights and federal work study programs, among others. The proposed budget increases funding for after-school programs and Head Start. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, which serves needy students, received an additional $107 million and the maximum Pell Grant award level was raised for low-income students. The omnibus also includes increases in funding for a grant program that schools can use for counselors or other school-based mental health services and to reduce school violence, and provides more support for historically black colleges and universities as well as other institutions serving minorities.