Education Budget Cuts since 2010

April 8, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues

Since 2010, federal education programs have been subject to multiple waves of cuts totaling almost $40 billion.

Discretionary Cuts

On the discretionary side of the budget, funding for programs exclusive of Pell grants were cut by a total of $3.714 billion between FY 2010 and FY 2013 as follows:

  • Fiscal Year 2011 = $-1.25 billion
  • Fiscal Year 2012 = $-101 million
  • Fiscal Year 2013 = $-2.362 billion

Included among those cuts was the elimination for more than 50 education programs (see list at the end).

While the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act restored many for the sequester cuts, non-Pell grant funding in the Department of Education is still below the FY 2008 level.

 Student Aid Cuts

In addition to these discretionary cuts, the Pell Grant program, which was exempt from the sequester cuts in Fiscal Year 2013, and student loans were subject to a series of restrictions and limitations on eligibility and reductions in a variety of benefits. In total, students have lost more than $35 billion from these cuts:

  • Elimination of the in-school interest subsidy for graduate student loans;
  • Elimination of the interest subsidy for the six-month grace period for undergraduate subsidized Stafford loans;

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Testimony of Joel Packer, Executive Director of CEF, before the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

June 30, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF in the News, CEF Issues, Letters to Congress, Press Releases

I am Joel Packer, Executive Director of CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest coalition of education organizations, representing more than 80 national organizations and institutions from Pre-K to graduate education.

As the Commission deliberates over the long-term fiscal challenges confronting the federal government, we come before you to day with one simple message – investments in education are critical to our long-term economic growth and our global competitiveness. Attached to my statement are several charts and graphs that provide additional data on the points I make today.

Increased investments in education are also a moral imperative.  Our nation continues to face unacceptable gaps in educational achievement and attainment at all levels of education – student academic achievement, high school graduation, college attendance and college completion. African Americans and Hispanics lag behind their white peers in all of these categories, as do low-income students and students with disabilities.

As an example, looking at fourth grade reading achievement as measured on the 2009 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 15 percent of African American students scored at the proficient or higher level, as did only 16 percent of Hispanic students, compared to 41 percent of white students.

According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, “every year, over 1.2 million students-that’s 7,000 every school day – do not graduate from high school on time. Nationwide, only about 70 percent of students earn their high school diplomas. Among minority students, only 57.8 percent of Hispanic, 53.4 percent of African American, and 49.3 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native students in the U.S. graduate with a regular diploma, compared to 76.2 percent of white students and 80.2 percent of Asian Americans.”

The gaps between English Language Learners (ELLs) and their English-fluent peers also remain wide.  The 2007 NAEP Reading results indicate that 30 percent of fourth-grade ELLs scored at or above the basic achievement level in reading compared to 69 percent of the non-ELL students.  The 2009 NAEP Mathematics results indicate that 57 percent of fourth-grade ELLs scored at or above the basic achievement level compared to 84 percent of the non-ELL students.  The achievement gap is not closing, and ELL enrollment shows few signs of slowing.  Based on state reported data, since 2005-06 ELLs have accounted for 10 percent of the total student population.  State reported data show that since 2001, increases in ELL enrollment have exceeded 30 percent annually.

Lower levels of educational attainment directly translate into lower levels of earnings, which then translate into lower levels of tax payments and increased levels of government spending on social service programs.

The impact of education on average earnings is startling.  In 2006, average yearly earnings for men who had some high school but failed to obtain a diploma was $27,650.  For those with a bachelor’s degree it was $60,910 – more than double.  For women, the figures show comparable gaps – $20,130 for those without a high school diploma versus $45,4210 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

Looking at the impact of education on unemployment, individuals with less than a high school diploma had an unemployment rate three times that of those with a bachelor’s or higher degree.

Yet, the fastest growing segments of our population are from these very racial and ethnic groups who are still being left behind. According to the Census Bureau,  “The United States is expected to experience significant increases in racial and ethnic diversity over the next four decades…Even if net international migration is maintained at a constant level of nearly one million, the Hispanic population is still projected to more than double between 2000 and 2050…”

Between 2006 and 2020, the white population is projected to decline by 6 percent, while African Americans will increase by 10 percent, Hispanics by 33 percent and Asians by 39 percent.

Our failure to close these educational gaps threatens not only the future of tens of millions of children from these groups, but also threatens our long-term economic outlook and our global competitiveness.  In fact, it threatens the very fabric of our society as those with lower levels of education are also less engaged in civic activities, have higher rates of crime, and are less healthy.

At the same time that we must address these achievement gaps, our schools and colleges also face record levels of enrollment with projections of additional increases throughout the decade.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Total public elementary and secondary enrollment is projected to set new records every year from 2009 to 2018.” Enrollments are projected to rise from 49.8 million students to 53.9 million. At the postsecondary education level, enrollment is projected to increase from 17.8 million in 2006 to 20.1 million students in 2017.

Making matters even more challenging, the educational attainment level required for jobs continues to rise. Anthony Carnevale, Director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, estimates that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training. In 1973, just 28 percent of jobs, or less than one-third, required such instruction.

The United States is also losing its edge in the global knowledge economy. According to a July 2009 report, Defining a 21st Century Education:

“America’s high school graduation rate, once the best in the world, now ranks 18th among industrialized OECD countries. As for higher education, “here, too, other countries are passing the United States,” observe Andreas Schleicher of the OECD and Vivien Stewart of the Asia Society. “The United States ranked second in 1995; by 2006, it ranked 13th among 24 countries with comparable data, behind such countries as Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, and Italy—and, for the first time, even behind the OECD average.”

“Already, America’s share of the world’s college students has dropped from 30 percent in 1970 to less than half that today. And because of their sheer size, China and India will surpass both Europe and the United States in the number of secondary and postsecondary graduates they produce over the next decade.”

Investments in education directly increase earnings and thus revenues. It is estimated that over the course of their working life, a bachelor’s degree recipient will earn nearly $1 million more than an individual who only has a high school diploma or G.E.D. Individuals with doctoral degrees will earn $1.3 million more than bachelor’s degree recipients. Over the course of a person’s working life (age 25-65), a college graduate is worth $472,000 in tax revenues.  This is in contrast to the revenues generated by a high school graduate, which is only $260,000. (Kantrowitz, M., Financial Value of a Higher Education (2007). Washington, DC: NASFAA Journal of Student Aid.

Research has also demonstrated that if we close achievement gaps, our revenues and GDP will significantly increase. According to a 2007 study released by Teachers College, Columbia University:

“We find that each new high school graduate would yield a public benefit of $209,000 in higher government revenues and lower government spending for an overall investment of $82,000, divided between the costs of powerful educational interventions and additional years of school attendance leading to graduation. The net economic benefit to the public purse is therefore $127,000 per student and the benefits are 2.5 times greater than the costs.

“If the number of high school dropouts in this age cohort was cut in half, the government would reap $45 billion via extra tax revenues and reduced costs of public health, of crime and justice, and in welfare payments. This lifetime saving of $45 billion for the current cohort would also accrue for subsequent cohorts of 20-year olds.”

The Costs and Benefits of an Excellent Education for All of America’s Children

Another recent study concluded:

If the United States had in recent years closed the gap between its educational achievement levels and those of better-performing nations such as Finland and Korea, GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher. This represents 9 to 16 percent of GDP.

If the gap between black and Latino student performance and white student performance had been similarly narrowed, GDP in 2008 would have been between $310 billion and $525 billion higher, or 2 to 4 percent of GDP. The magnitude of this impact will rise in the years ahead as demographic shifts result in blacks and Latinos becoming a larger proportion of the population and workforce.

If the gap between low-income students and the rest had been similarly narrowed, GDP in 2008 would have been $400 billion to $670 billion higher, or 3 to 5 percent of GDP.

The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools

However, in spite of these facts, the share of the federal budget devoted to education, as measured by total spending by the U.S. Department of Education, is less than 3 percent of all federal outlays. And based on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget submitted by President Obama, education outlays would decline to 2.2 percent of all outlays by 2015.  CEF supports increasing the share of federal spending devoted to education to 5 percent of all outlays.

We also need increased investments in early childhood education, which also pay off. The preliminary results of a randomly selected longitudinal study of more than 600 Head Start graduates in San Bernardino County, California, showed that society receives nearly $9 in benefits for every $1 invested in these Head Start children. These benefits include increased earnings, employment, and family stability, and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition, and special education. (Meier, J. (2003, June 20). Kindergarten Readiness Study: Head Start Success. Interim Report. Preschool Services Department of San Bernardino County.)

Every $1 invested in high-quality pre-k saves taxpayers up to $7.  Pre-k results in savings by reducing the need for remedial and special education, welfare, and criminal justice services, according to a number of studies. (Sources: “The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California”, Rand Corporation; The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project)

Yet, many education programs have large unmet needs. To cite a few examples:

Fully funding Title I Grants, which serve students at schools with high levels of poverty, would require an appropriation of approximately $35 billion – an increase of more than $20 billion.

Congress acknowledged in 1975 when the IDEA was enacted that the cost of educating a student with disabilities is approximately twice that of educating students who do not receive special education supports and services.  When the law was passed, Congress pledged to pay 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for students receiving IDEA services. Unfortunately over the last three decades, the federal government has not fulfilled its fiscal pledge, leaving states and localities to bear the burden of paying the shortfall. The current federal share is only at 17 percent. To achieve the full funding 40 percent level would require an additional $16 billion.

Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education in 1999 identified over $125 billion in necessary renovation projects in existing school buildings, while other studies looking at both renovation and new construction costs estimated a nationwide need closer to $300 billion.

School library media centers spend an average of $8.50 per child for books – less than half the average cost of one hardcover school library book. In addition, the average national ratio of library media teachers to students is now only 1:856 students, leaving less ability for direct connections between media teachers and students.

The value of Pell grants in meeting college costs has significantly declined.  In the 1988-89 school year, the maximum Pell grant covered 50 percent of college costs at four-year public colleges and 20 percent of such costs at four-year private institutions.  However by the 2009-10 school year, the maximum Pell covered only 35 percent of average public school costs and  15 percent at private schools.

Of the nation’s 307 million people, 93 million adults do not possess the necessary literacy levels to enter either postsecondary education or job-training programs, according to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy.

State-funded pre-k programs currently serve just 24 percent of four year olds and 4 percent of three year olds in the U.S.

Solving our nation’s fiscal situation and reducing the debt can’t and won’t happen simply by cutting federal spending, capping discretionary spending and freezing education. Investments in education are investments in our fiscal future and our societal well-being.

Yet to reiterate what I previously said, the share of the federal budget devoted to education, as measured by total spending by the U.S. Department of Education, is less than 3 percent of all federal outlays. When what one earns is increasingly linked to what one learns, when the global leadership of the U.S. is threatened by other countries outperforming us on education, and when the need to close our education gaps is greater than ever, education deserves to, and indeed must, become a larger share of the federal budget.

While we do need to be concerned with the future fiscal burden that unchecked national debt places on our children and grandchildren, we also need to be concerned that we not leave them unprepared for the global economy due to inadequate education.

When our students succeed, our nation succeeds. Thank you for considering our views.

House and Senate Supplemental Letter

June 21, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 80 national education associations and institutions from preschool to postgraduate education, we strongly urge you to include two critical education provisions in the Fiscal Year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill; a $23 billion education jobs fund to help struggling schools prevent significant numbers of layoffs and harmful education program cuts and $5.7 billion to pay off the Pell grant funding shortfall, to prevent over eight million college students from having their grants reduced.

States, school districts and colleges face a serious fiscal crisis. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) education funds have saved over 300,000 education jobs and prevented massive layoffs and education cuts.

However, the termination of ARRA education funds will result in substantial cuts and layoffs at all levels of education. In addition, due to unprecedented and growing state budget gaps, schools and colleges are facing additional deep cuts in state aid.

A survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that 275,000 teachers and other education employees face layoffs in the upcoming school year.  Education Secretary Duncan has called this a “catastrophe unfolding across the country… If we do not help avert this state and local budget crisis, we could impede reform and fail another generation of children.”

The $23 billion education jobs fund will not only prevent layoffs of teachers, instructional support personnel and other school staff, but will also help the economy in the short-term. Investments in education also pay off over the long-term by reducing unemployment and increasing family income.

Saving 300,000 education jobs, preserving critically important education programs, and ensuring college access to million of low- and middle-income students is not a bailout but a buy-in for the future of our children and our nation.  CEF also urges you not to cut funds for other education programs to pay for the education jobs fund and Pell grants. Doing so would reduce the benefits of these supplemental funds and create a harmful precedent of cutting one education program to pay for another.

In Support of Paying Off the $5.7 Billion Pell Grant Shortfall

June 16, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

The Pell Grant program is facing a $5.667 billion shortfall, which if not paid off now will result in severe harm to college students, higher education institutions, our economy and our global competitiveness.

The recently enacted Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (HCEARA) (P.L. 111-152) provided mandatory funding for the Pell Grant program, intended to provide increases in the maximum award on top of the amount provided through the annual appropriations process.

While HCEARA also provided $13.5 billion toward paying off an accumulated Pell Grant shortfall, an additional $5.667 billion is needed simply to maintain the current maximum award of $5,550 in Fiscal Year 2011.

If this shortfall is not paid off through emergency spending in the FY 10 emergency supplemental appropriations bill as many as eight million low- and middle-income students will face a cut in their Pell Grant award.

The maximum award would be slashed by $845, or more than 15%. The maximum award would drop from $5,550 to $4,705, undermining the commitment just made in HCEARA to increase the Pell award.

If the shortfall is not paid off through the emergency supplemental appropriations bill, and left for the FY 11 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, it will result in a cut of $5.7 billion in resources available for other education as well as health and labor programs.

The increase in Pell Grant program costs are directly related to the economic recession:

due to increased unemployment more people are seeking postsecondary education to gain skills and training needed for new jobs;

family incomes have declined, which increased eligibility for Pell Gants; and

State budget gaps resulted in reductions of funds to institutions of higher education and state student aid programs, which also increased eligibility for Pell Grants.

The number of Pell Grant recipients is estimated to increase from 7.7 million in FY 2009 to 8.7 million in FY 2011.

Failure to payoff the Pell Grant shortfall will make it more difficult for millions of low- and middle-income students to obtain a college degree.

If Pell Grants are severely cut, it will make it impossible to achieve President Obama’s goal of making the United States first in the world in the percentage of college graduates.

It will also make it more difficult to improve the economy, since unemployment levels are directly related to educational attainment. In fact, people without a high school diploma currently have an unemployment rate three times that of people with a bachelor’s or higher degree.

The Pell Grant program is the largest source of grant aid to students under the Higher Education Act, with approximately 27 percent of all undergraduates receiving a Pell award.

In 2008-09, approximately 74 percent of all Pell Grant recipients had incomes less than or equal to $30,000.

 

In support of critical education programs in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill

May 26, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

Dear Appropriations Committee Member,  On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 80 national education associations and institutions from preschool to postgraduate education, we write in strong support of two critical education provisions in the Fiscal Year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill; a $23 billion education jobs fund to help struggling schools prevent significant numbers of layoffs and harmful education program cuts and $5.7 billion to pay off the Pell grant funding shortfall, which will ensure that over 8 million college students do not have their grants reduced.

States, school districts and colleges face a serious fiscal crisis. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) education funds have saved over 300,000 education jobs and prevented massive layoffs and education cuts. However, the loss of ARRA education funds will result in substantial cuts and layoffs at all levels of education.

In addition, due to unprecedented and growing state budget gaps, schools and colleges are facing additional deep cuts in state aid.  A survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that 275,000 teachers and other education employees face layoffs in the upcoming school year.  Education Secretary Duncan has called this a “catastrophe unfolding across the country… If we do not help avert this state and local budget crisis, we could impede reform and fail another generation of children.”

The $23 billion education jobs fund will not only prevent layoffs of teachers, instructional support personnel and other school staff, but will also help the economy in the short-term. Investments in education also pay off over the long-term by reducing unemployment and increasing family income.

CEF strongly supports the $23 billion education jobs fund. As the bill moves forward consideration should be given to providing eligibility for funds to public higher education institutions as in both the current State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the House-passed Jobs for Mainstreet Act.  Saving 300,000 education jobs and preserving critically important education programs is not a bailout but a buy-in for the future of our children and our nation. We look forward to working with Chairman Obey and the Committee to enact these vital education investments.

In Support of $23 Billion for Education Jobs

May 20, 2010  |  1 Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of more than 80 national education associations and institutions from preschool to postgraduate education, we strongly urge you to support Sen. Harkin’s amendment to HR 4889, the Fiscal Year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill.

The Harkin amendment would provide $23 billion for an education jobs fund to help struggling schools and colleges prevent significant numbers of layoffs and harmful cuts in programs for students.

States, school districts and colleges face a daunting double funding cliff.  While education funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have already been used to prevent massive layoffs and education cuts, the small amount of remaining ARRA funds will expire in the next school year.

For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2009 ARRA funded over 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors. The loss of ARRA education funds will result in substantial cuts in education programs at all levels.  Second, due to unprecedented and growing state budget gaps, schools and colleges are facing additional deep cuts in state aid.

According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, states face a cumulative budget gap of $180 billion in fiscal year 2011 and $120 billion in 2012. A newly released survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that 275,000 teachers and other education employees face layoffs in the upcoming school year.  Education Secretary Duncan has called this a “catastrophe unfolding across the country… If we do not help avert this state and local budget crisis, we could impede reform and fail another generation of children.”

An education jobs fund will not only prevent layoffs of teachers, faculty, instructional support personnel and other staff, but will also help the economy. Investments in education pay off over the long-term by reducing unemployment and increasing family income.  In fact, based on recent unemployment data, individuals without a high school diploma were three times more likely to be unemployed than those with a bachelor’s or higher degree.  We urge you to vote for Sen. Harkin’s amendment, which is supported by more than 80 education, labor, and other organizations.

CEF is also deeply concerned about a $5.5 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant program for college students. While the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act provided new mandatory funding for portions of the Pell grant program, its costs have increased due to the economic downturn, as more people are attending college and eligibility for Pell grants has increased as family incomes have declined.

Unless Congress provides $5.5 billion in emergency funding for Pell grants, either the Pell grant maximum award for Fiscal Year 11 will have to be substantially reduced which will be harmful to eight million students, or all other education programs will face serious cuts. Thank you for considering our views.

ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING SEN. HARKIN’S $23 BILLION EDUCATION JOBS AMENDMENT

  1. American Association of Classified School Employees (AACSE)
  2. American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  3. American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
  4. American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
  5. American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  6. American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  7. American Council on Education (ACE)
  8. American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
  9. American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)
  10. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  11. American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  12. American Library Association (ALA)
  13. American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
  14. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  15. APPA, Leadership in Educational Facilities
  16. ASCD
  17. Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning
  18. Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
  19. Association of American Publishers (AAP)
  20. Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT)
  21. Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA)
  22. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
  23. Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)
  24. Association of Teacher Educators (ATE)
  25. California Department of Education (CDE)
  26. California School Employees Association (CSEA)
  27. Chicago Public Schools
  28. Citizen Schools
  29. Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations (COHEAO)
  30. Coalition on Human Needs (CHN)
  31. Committee for Education Funding (CEF)
  32. Communications Workers of America (CWA)
  33. Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
  34. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  35. Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
  36. Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS)
  37. FED ED
  38. First Focus Campaign for Children
  39. Green Dot Public Schools
  40. Higher Education Consortium for Special Education
  41. International Reading Association (IRA)
  42. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
  43. Knowledge Alliance
  44. Latino Elected and Appointed Officials National Taskforce on Education
  45. Learning Disabilities Association Of America (LDA)
  46. Learning First Alliance (LFA)
  47. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
  48. National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE)
  49. National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
  50. National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
  51. National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS)
  52. National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC)
  53. National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  54. National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  55. National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
  56. National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)
  57. National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
  58. National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP)
  59. National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  60. National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU)
  61. National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
  62. National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  63. National Education Association (NEA)
  64. National Middle School Association (NMSA)
  65. National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA)
  66. National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition (NREAC)
  67. National Rural Education Association (NREA)
  68. National School Boards Association (NSBA)
  69. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  70. National Title I Association CEF Letter on the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill
  71. Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
  72. Scholastic, Inc.
  73. School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
  74. Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  75. State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
  76. Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
  77. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)
  78. The College Board
  79. The Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)
  80. The National Association for Music Education (MENC)
  81. The National High School Equivalency Program and College Assistance Migrant Program (HEP/CAMP)
  82. United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries
  83. United States Student Association (USSA)

FY 11 Budget Resolution Letter + Complilation of Budget Cuts & Layoffs

April 9, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 80 organizations and institutions representing early childhood through post-graduate education, we are writing to share our views on the education portions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Congressional Budget Resolution.

President Obama’s budget represents a solid step forward for education at all levels by proposing a $3.5 billion (7.5 percent) increase in discretionary spending for programs in the Department of Education. It also proposes to submit a request for an additional $1 billion for elementary/secondary education programs after Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We also greatly appreciate the recent enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation bill that provides $42 billion over ten years in mandatory funding for Pell Grants, community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and expanded income-based loan repayment options.

As you consider the FY 11 Budget Resolution, we urge you to build on these increases. While we recognize the overall fiscal constraints facing our country, we are disappointed that the President’s budget freezes several key education programs, including Title I, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Impact Aid, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, campus-based student aid, GEAR-UP and TRIO and freezes the federal share of special education funding at only 17 percent.

At a time when schools, colleges, libraries and students face steep additional cuts due to continuing large state budget gaps and the looming funding cliff resulting from the termination of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, it is critical that increases for these vital education programs be provided. It is important to understand that virtually all education funds provided in FY 11 will be spent in the 2011-12 school year when ARRA funds will no longer be available.

Even though the Department of Education has a proposed $3.5 billion, or 7.5 percent, discretionary increase, that figure is $76.8 billion below the FY 09 ARRA level, or minus 61 percent.

Under the Administration’s budget all increased funding at the K-12 level would be through competitive grant programs, including the consolidation of 38 programs into nine new flexible funding streams. While such consolidations will be the subject of the ESEA reauthorization, from a budgetary perspective CEF has several concerns. Without increases in such programs as Title I and IDEA, states and schools will have difficulty developing their education budgets since under competitive grants no state or school district knows whether it will receive funds, how much it will receive, and when it will receive them. It is important to provide sustainable, predictable funding for our nation’s schools.

CEF also believes that any program consolidations should not result in the elimination of essential education functions such as improving teacher preparation at institutions of higher education or providing K-12 students with sufficient specialized instructional support personnel nor be used as an excuse to reduce federal funding. In addition, we are opposed to the elimination of important programs including Enhancing Education Through Technology State Grants and LEAP.

At a minimum, we urge the Committee to include the $1 billion proposed by the President contingent on ESEA reauthorization as part of the overall FY 11 discretionary education budget, for a $4.5 billion increase.
CEF also recommends that the Committee support increases included in the President’s budget for critical children’s programs, including Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Child Nutrition.

We also urge you to provide funding in the Budget Resolution for early childhood education programs, such as the Early Learning Challenge Fund. The President’s budget proposed $9 billion over ten years in mandatory funding to expand and improve early education programs. Unfortunately, funding for this program was dropped from the final reconciliation bill.

CEF further calls on Congress to provide immediate additional education fiscal relief to save jobs in the upcoming 2010-11 school year for teachers, faculty, other instructional personnel, administrators, and support staff at schools and colleges. Achieving needed reforms at the elementary and secondary level and increasing college access and completion will be very difficult if education institutions are forced to lay off tens of thousands of educators and reduce programs for students. A CEF compilation of state-by-state education cuts and layoffs is available on our website.

Investments in education are an essential element in improving our nation’s economic growth and competitiveness. Individuals with less than a high school diploma have an unemployment rate more than five times that of those with a bachelor’s or higher degree. Thus, investing in education now not only helps tens of millions of students become more productive citizens, but also helps our long-term fiscal situation.

CEF Letter to U.S. Senate Regarding Final Reconciliation

March 22, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of more than 80 organizations representing early childhood through post-graduate education, we urge you to vote in favor of HR 4872, The Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, as passed by the House, which invests over $41 billion in critical education programs.

Most importantly, the bill provides $36 billion over ten years for Pell Grants to address a significant funding shortfall as well as increase the maximum award from $5,550 to $5,975 by 2017. Without this mandatory funding, either every Pell Grant recipient will see their grant cut by at least $2,500 or other vital education programs including those at the elementary- secondary level will face devastating cuts in FY 11.

HR 4872 is the only legislative opportunity this year to respond to the Pell shortfall as well as provide important needed education investments including $750 million for College Access Challenge Grants, $2.55 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority- Serving Institutions, and $2 billion for community colleges for improved educational and career training programs.

In order to ensure enactment of the bill, the Senate must pass the House-passed bill without further amendments. Failure to pass this bill and provide this critical mandatory Pell grant funding now will not only hurt over 8 million students, but also be harmful to the economy since higher levels of educational attainment result in increased economic growth and reduced levels of unemployment.

CEF Letter to U.S. Senate Regarding Pell Grants and Reconciliation

March 12, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of more than 80 organizations representing early childhood through post-graduate education, we urge you to include mandatory funding for the Pell Grant program in the upcoming health care-student aid reconciliation bill.

The Pell Grant program is facing a significant funding crisis that the proposed reconciliation bill is designed to fix. Without this funding, every Pell Grant recipient will see their grant cut by at least $2,500 – losing $1,500 from their existing grant, and an additional $1,000 provided in the new bill. These cuts will impact over 6.3 million deserving students throughout the nation.

The reconciliation bill has been the anticipated legislative vehicle for funding Pell Grants since last spring’s budget resolution. This is not a new legislative development, and there is no other legislative opportunity this year to fix it.

Without this funding for Pell Grants, the FY 2011 budget and appropriations process will be hamstrung by the increased costs of the program. In this economy, more students with higher need are eligible for Pell Grants. Appropriators will have to provide an additional $19 billion over last year’s $17 billion to meet this demand and maintain the appropriated maximum grant of $4,860. This would wipe out any opportunity for funding increases in other education programs for both elementary-secondary and postsecondary education, as well as reduce the Pell maximum award.

We appreciate the difficult and complex decisions you face, which are intertwined in this must-pass legislation. But the unexpected growth of this important program to help low- income students afford college must be paid for now.

Failure to include this critical mandatory Pell grant funding in reconciliation will not only hurt millions of students, but also be harmful to the economy since higher levels of educational attainment result in increased economic growth and reduced levels of unemployment.

CEF letter opposing the pending Sessions-McCaskill Amendment on Statutory Discretionary Spending Caps

March 11, 2010  |  No Comments  |  by Broddy  |  CEF Issues, Letters to Congress

On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of more than 80 national education associations and institutions from preschool to postgraduate education, we urge you to vote against the Sessions-McCaskill amendment (SA 3453) that would impose statutory discretionary spending caps through FY 13. It would set separate caps for defense and domestic spending, with the limit on domestic discretionary spending essentially freezing such spending for four years (FY 10-FY 13).

We believe that adoption of this amendment is ill-advised and that the determination of discretionary spending should be established each year through the budget and appropriations process. In addition, establishment of these caps may well have a significant negative impact on education. The President’s budget proposes to shift funding for Pell grants from discretionary to mandatory spending. Pending student aid legislation and current law also fund part of Pell grants as mandatory spending. If Congress fails to include Pell funding as mandatory and all funding for Pell was included in the discretionary part of the budget, the caps set by this amendment would result in serious cuts to education or other domestic programs.

States, school districts, colleges and libraries already face a severe and unprecedented fiscal crisis. While funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have helped prevent massive layoffs and education cuts, such funds will expire in the next school year. The loss of ARRA education funds will likely result in substantial cuts in education programs at all levels.

In addition, due to unprecedented and growing state and local budget gaps, schools, colleges and libraries are facing deep additional cuts in state and local aid, causing even further reductions.

Locking in discretionary spending caps prior to a full analysis of their impact and without flexibility to deal with changing economic and budgetary issues in the next few years will likely prove harmful to programs for children, students, and education. We thus urge you to vote no on this amendment.