WASHINGTON — Today, Congress passed the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, including several increases to critical investments for today’s students pursuing higher education.
The omnibus spending bill includes a $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant, more funding to support HBCUs, HSIs, and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Campus Suicide Prevention Grants, and $65 million to the Strengthening Community Colleges Grant. Funding for the Open Textbook Pilot program nearly doubled the fiscal year 2022 funding from $7 million to $12 million, as well as an additional $10 million to CCAMPIS and a $2 billion boost to the Child Care and Development Block Grants support of 25% of today’s students who are also parents completing their higher education goals.
Additional investments in Student Success Grants and Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grants, bringing total program funds to $45 million each, is a key indicator that Congress understands the largest barriers students face in successfully navigating higher education exist outside the classroom.
“By putting such significant support behind these two grants, Congress is addressing roadblocks so that the 39 million adults with some credits but no degree can more easily return to higher learning and complete their postsecondary goals,” states Julie Peller, executive director of HLA. “Now we urge ED to ensure these grants support the success of all today’s students, including first-generation, returning adults, and parenting students.”
While we are pleased to see widespread support for higher education, there are a few missed opportunities. As highlighted in a letter from 55 organizations, while we appreciate the increase to CCAMPIS in the FY23 package, there is room for improvement. The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Grant program, which also remains significantly underfunded, leaves institutions of higher learning unable to meet the growing mental health care demands of their students.
We look forward to helping address omissions from the fiscal 2023 spending bill, such as the PATH to College Act and additional funding for the Broadband Connectivity Fund, with lawmakers in the new Congress.
About Higher Learning Advocates
Higher Learning Advocates (HLA) is the leading bipartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for today’s students and their postsecondary success through policy and systems change. Established in 2017, HLA advocates for policies and support programs that ensure opportunity and promote inclusive pathways for all learners to succeed through an equitable system of higher learning, employment, and economic mobility.