- President Joe Biden’s unveiled Friday would send nearly $103 billion to the U.S. Department of Education, significantly boosting the maximum federal award and new funding for minority-serving institutions.
- The proposal increases the department’s allocation by over 40% over the fiscal 2021 budget. It includes a $400 increase to the maximum Pell award, a “significant first step” in a push to double the total amount, and makes the , the White House said Friday.
- Biden’s proposal is an about-face from the requested educational budget cuts, which Congress largely rejected.
Despite the proposed spending increase, Biden’s Pell proposal will likely disappoint advocates who have pressed federal officials to double the maximum award amount. Nearly 1,200 groups, calling on lawmakers to do so. This is a particularly relevant request, they argue, as the pandemic continues to wreak economic havoc. The has disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic students and those from Indigenous communities.
However, the administration said a $400 boost to the maximum Pell Grant would be the most significant one-time2009. It would in the program, which would help bring the maximum award to $6,895.
Biden’savailable to participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DACA shields them from deportation and creates pathways for educational and work opportunities.
The draft budget also offers $600 million more for “institutional capacity and student support” programs at MSIs, historically Black and tribal colleges, and low-resource institutions such as. The did not specify which programs would benefit from the spending boon.
An additional $100 million would be set aside for initiatives that aim to raise participation in STEMfrom racial and ethnic groups who are traditionally underrepresented in those fields.
UNCF, an advocacy group for private HBCUs, applauded Biden’s proposal. It’s president and chief executive, Michael Lomax, said the organization hopes more investments will come.
“After UNCF studies the budget details more, I am sure we will continue to push Congress to sustain these increases and maybe advocate for more,” Lomax said in a statement.
A representative from the American Council on Education,top lobbying group, said it does not anticipate making an immediate statement on the budget plan. However, on Friday noted that doubling the Pell Grant and expanding it to DACA recipients are “urgently needed.”
Other educational investments in the draft include $144 million for thefor Civil Rights, a 10% increase, and $1 billion for the U.S. to beef up programs enacted under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which includes support for women at MSIs. Biden and was at the forefront of assisting with the Obama administration’s efforts to mitigate campus sexual misconduct.
Congress must approve the budget bill. It has already received criticism from prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, though their comments mainly.