Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed an omnibus appropriations bill that funds the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2018). The bill provides many welcome increases for student aid and research programs.
Some notable highlights include:
- $3 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health – an 8 percent increase to $37.1 billion.
- $295 million increase for the National Science Foundation – a 4 percent increase to $7.8 billion.
- $868 million increase for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science – a 16 percent increase to $6.26 billion.
- $47 million increase for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy – a 15 percent increase to $353 million.
- $457 million increase for NASA science programs – an 8 percent increase to $6.2 billion.
- $25 million increase for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – a nearly 7 percent increase to $400 million.
- An increase in the maximum Pell Grant award by $175 to $6,095 for the 2018-19 school year.
- $107 million increase for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants – a more than 14 percent increase for a total of $840 million.
- $140 million increase for Federal Work Study – a 14 percent increase for a total of $1.13 billion.
- $35 million increase for HBCUs, including a 14 percent increase to $72.3 million for historically black graduate institutions.
The omnibus was widely viewed as one of the few must-pass bills of the year, and therefore was targeted as a key vehicle for certain priority policy “riders.” While there were some efforts to include language that could have provided a resolution to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) dilemma, the omnibus bill did not include any such agreement on DACA. This means the program continues to face an uncertain future. Federal courts have issued temporary orders requiring the administration to continue the renewal process for those already enrolled in DACA while further action is considered. APLU continues to urge Congress to reach an agreement that will protect those young people as well as those who wish to enroll in DACA.