Federal Budget —
After Thanksgiving the House of Representatives will be voting on the FY2024 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, which currently proposes flat funding for the Pell Grant Program and eliminates both the Federal Work-Study Program and Supplement Educational Opportunity Grants. Literally thousands of moderate and low-income students at SCICU member institutions rely on this funding to focus on their studies and not be distracted by financial concerns.
We understand that President Biden intends to veto this bill should it contain these provisions. It’s good to know that’s where we likely will end up, but the House passing a bill with these draconian cuts is not a good way to start.
The U.S. Department of Education announced this week the new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form will not be available for students until December 31 of this year, barely meeting the end-of-year requirement set by Congress.
With this late date for FAFSA to be available, students will be submitting their information later than usual and financial aid officers will be hustling to complete financial aid packages for students intending to enroll for Fall 2024. The Department of Education will be making their jobs even harder – it also announced that there will be a four-to-six-week delay in when it gets the processed information back to financial aid officers. In the past the lag has been only a few days.
Shutdown averted —
With government funding set to expire Nov. 17, Congress passed a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown that is being referred to as “laddered” because it contains two blocks of spending bills.
The first block of bills expires on January 19, 2024, and covers less controversial funding areas, such as Agriculture, Energy and Water, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD. The second block expires on February 2, and includes funding for areas more likely to inspire debate, including Commerce-Science-Justice, Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-EPA, Labor-HHS-Education, the Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Ops.