[STATEMENT] Higher Education Priorities in FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill ​

Bipartisan agreement includes expanded aid for today’s students, including student parents, working adults and low-income students

Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2018) — Today, Higher Learning Advocates Executive Director and Founder Julie Peller released a statement applauding increased funding for postsecondary education approved in the bipartisan omnibus spending agreement reached by Congress for FY 2018:

“This appropriations agreement is a strong, bipartisan show of support for postsecondary education and recognizes the needs of today’s students. Finances should never preclude a student from accessing and completing a high-quality degree or credential. Today’s students are parents, working adults and more diverse in age, income and race. This agreement expands vital aid and supports that will help more students from diverse walks of life attain the skills and credentials needed to succeed in today’s economy.”

“Today’s students need access to learning throughout the year and flexible schedules that fit the lives of working adults. The extension of year-round Pell is a critical step for helping working adults and other students who continue their education during the summer months to reach completion of their credential. And, at a time when nearly half of students are financially independent and a quarter are parents themselves, helping student parents access child care through increased funding to the CCAMPIS program will not only support families and workers, but enable more students to continue their education and prepare for career success.”

“At the same time, the omnibus unfortunately has again exempted select low-performing colleges from existing accountability sanctions. Students need and deserve a strong return on their investment in college, and Congress should be sending a clear message that institutions that fail to serve students well will face real accountability.”

The agreement increases student aid by raising the maximum Pell Grant award and expanding funding for campus-based aid programs, HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. The legislation also extends support for Year Round Pell, which enables working adults and part-time students to continue their studies outside the traditional academic year. Finally, the legislation also includes support for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program, which provides support directly to help low-income student parents access child care so they can continue their education while parenting.


Higher Learning Advocates is a non-profit advocacy organization working to shift federal policy from higher education to higher learning—education and training beyond high school that leads to a degree, credential, or employment. While more students are participating in higher education than ever before, there is a vast and growing disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, employers, and communities. We are working toward federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve outcomes.

CONTACT: Ted Eismeier, teismeier@higherlearningadvocates.org