Higher Learning Advocates’ Statement on the Consolidated Appropriations Package for Fiscal Year 2022

WASHINGTON — Today, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2022. Higher Learning Advocates—a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for policy that reflect the changing demographics of today’s students—has released the following statement attributed to its executive director Julie Peller:

“An educated workforce is a competitive workforce, and today’s passage of the Consolidated Appropriations package for FY22 is a clear sign that the federal government is invested in the future outcomes of today’s students. We appreciate the support of Congress to ensure that students have access to the tools they need to succeed. The COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption over the past two years to career and educational pathways is indelible. Today, inflation demonstrates yet another obstacle for financially insecure students.

With this package’s $400 increase to the maximum Pell Grant we are one step closer to doubling Pell, a longtime goal of HLA. This, coupled with $5 million in the first ever Student Success Grants, $8 million in Basic Needs Grants, a $10 million increase to CCAMPIS, and $885 million to MSIs demonstrates a commitment on the part of legislators to helping all students attain quality, affordable education.

Today’s students are looking to re- or upskill at significantly heightened rates due to the global pandemic that permanently altered our nation’s workforce. The FY22 appropriations package also includes several key investments in workforce development through prioritizing programs that build out and enhance training and development for displaced workers and underserved populations.

We are also pleased to see that Congress has appropriated $550 million in additional broadband funding, building upon the infrastructure bill. Too many students still have limited access to reliable internet in their communities, impeding their ability to access classes and complete assignments. Additionally, the $5 million appropriated toward the Open Textbooks Pilot program will help to alleviate the burden of high textbook costs for today’s students.

Investing in higher learning is investing in the future of our economy, and Congress did just that in this legislative package. We look forward to continued work with Congress to continue to serve today’s students.