House FY 17 Labor HHS Response

August 26, 2016  |  No Comments  |  by JWeinberg  |  Letters to Congress

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July 12, 2016
 
Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:
 
On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 116 national education associations and institutions spanning early learning to postgraduate education, we are writing to voice our concerns regarding the Labor- HHS-Education appropriations bill that was passed out of the Subcommittee on July 7th. We are keenly aware of the difficult budget limitations the Subcommittee endeavored to balance, and commend your leadership in moving the appropriations process forward. CEF continues to emphasize the importance of eliminating the discretionary funding caps, as robust investment in education is essential to our nation’s economic viability.
 
We recognize that some programs received modest increases, and we are encouraged by the level of funding allocated for ESSA’s new Title IV block grant but we also acknowledge the limited additional investments to IDEA grants, Impact Aid, Indian Education, TRIO, and GEAR UP. We strongly believe that these nominal investments are insufficient to fund the full array of programs necessary to help students attain their full potential. Furthermore, while we are pleased the Committee retained the funding from the now eliminated School
 
Improvement Grants (SIG) program and moves it through the Title I formula, we remain concerned that such an allocation still translates into a $200 million shortfall at the local district level.
CEF is deeply worried about the $1.3 billion that was taken from the Pell Grant reserve fund and the precedent that it sets, along with the cut to the Pell program’s annual appropriation. We were further disappointed by the lack of restoration of year-round Pell Grants, which was included in the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill earlier this year.
 
Finally, funding for numerous programs in this bill was reduced, frozen, or eliminated altogether. It was mentioned at the markup that there were “more than two dozen education programs that saw their funding reduced or completely eliminated in this bill.” This includes both the Magnet Schools Assistance program and the Education Innovation and Research program that have both been zeroed out, despite receiving tens of millions of dollars in FY 2016. The extensive negative impact of these budget decisions is avoidable by lifting the caps that are causing pressing funding constraints.
 
We strongly urge Congress to eliminate the discretionary caps in order to fund our nation’s education programs at adequate levels. Educational attainment is strongly tied to individual success and the growth, vitality, and innovation of our nation’s economic strength. Congress must work toward advancing the resources necessary to provide the best possible opportunities for students, their families, and our country.

Sincerely,
 
Makese Motley
President
 
Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

Senate FY 2017 Labor HHS Response

August 26, 2016  |  No Comments  |  by JWeinberg  |  Letters to Congress

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June 8, 2016
 
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:
 
On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 116 national education associations and institutions spanning early learning to postgraduate education, we write to express our encouragement by the effort that produced the first bi-partisan Labor-HHS budget to come out of the subcommittee in seven years. We are keenly aware of the difficult budget limitations and priorities you both endeavored to balance, and commend your leadership in moving the budget process forward.
While CEF appreciates that some currently authorized programs received modest increases, we are deeply concerned over the $1.2 billion that was taken from the Pell Grant reserve fund and the precedent that it sets. We continue to emphasize the importance of eliminating the discretionary funding caps, as adequate investment in education is essential to our nation’s economic viability. While we acknowledge limited additional investments in Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, IDEA grants, Impact Aid, and Charter School funding, we are concerned such nominal investments will not be enough as all are critical components in helping students attain their full education potential.

Additionally, while the proposed Title I level is $50 million above the combined FY 2016 level for Title I and School Improvement Grants (SIG), it still represents a cut at the local level. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) absorbed SIG into Title I and increased the school improvement set-aside from 4% to 7%. Thus, even with the additional $50 million provided by your committee, $150 million will be cut from school district allocations, resulting in many school districts receiving a smaller initial Title I allocation than they did in FY 2016.
 
We would also like to express our concern with the $300 million appropriation for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) under Title IV, Part A of ESSA, which is a funding level well below the $1.65 billion authorization level established in ESSA. This appropriation level only reflects funding for the programs that were funded in FY16 and consolidated into the bill, even though the activities under the new block grant are far broader than those that were funded––including the effective use of technology, safe and healthy school programs, and well-rounded education programs. At this funding level, many schools will be unable to make meaningful investments in the programs that provide children with a safe and enriched learning environment, critical to their success and achievement.
 
CEF supports the restoration of year-round Pell grants, as well as the funding necessary to increase the maximum Pell grant from $5,815 for the 2016-2017 school year to an estimated $5,935 for the 2017-2018 school year. Despite this increased investment, however, the bill underfunds several higher education programs that are equally as important to the postsecondary success of America’s students. In particular, we wish to highlight the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, which provide supportive services to ensure access and success for low-income, first-generation college students; campus-based aid programs, like Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Work-Study, which provide additional funds to help students and families bear the cost of college; and funding to support Minority-Serving Institutions, which help shore up the infrastructure and operations of institutions dedicated to educating students of color.
 
We continue to urge Congress to eliminate the discretionary caps in order to fund our nation’s education programs at an adequate level. Educational attainment is strongly tied to both individual success and the growth, vitality, and innovation of our nation’s economic strength. We urge Congress to continue to work toward advancing the resources necessary to implement the best possible opportunities for students, their families, and our nation.

Sincerely,

Makese Motley
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

Letter in strong opposition to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution proposed by Chairman Price

March 15, 2016  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Charts and Factsheets, Letters to Congress

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March 15, 2016

Dear Budget Committee Member:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 116 national education associations and institutions spanning early learning to postgraduate education, writes to express our strong opposition to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution proposed by Chairman Price.

While the proposed Budget maintains the FY 2017 cap for nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending, it proposes to slash funding for education and other critical NDD programs by $877 billion, or 18.6 percent, between FY 2018 and FY 2026.

In FY 2018 alone, it cuts NDD programs by $44 billion (-8.5 percent) below the sequester cap.  Compared to the current Fiscal Year, it cuts NDD by $55 billion      (-10.4 percent), when the $8 billion provided for NDD through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund is factored in.

The materials released on the Chairman’s proposed budget do not provide any details on funding for discretionary-funded education programs.  However, if the 10.4 percent cut to NDD below current levels was applied equally to all programs, funding for critical Department of Education programs would be cut by $7.1 billion with Head Start in the Department of Health and Human Services cut by $953 million. Such cuts would devastate programs serving students from preschool to postgraduate education, as well as in related areas of workforce training, libraries and museums. In addition, the budget proposes to freeze the maximum Pell grant award for at least the next ten years.

Making matters worse, the Budget includes $202 billion in mandatory cuts over ten years in Function 500 (Education, Employment, Training, and Social Services).  While the materials do not specify what those cuts are, we are deeply concerned they likely will result in additional reductions to mandatory-funded student financial aid programs.

At a time when increased educational attainment is strongly tied to earnings, such cuts would be harmful not only to students and their families, schools, colleges, and States, but also to our nation’s economy.

We again strongly urge you to reject this Budget, which reverses recent bipartisan progress in restoring past budget cuts, and would move our nation backwards in efforts to improve school readiness, close achievement gaps, fulfill modern workforce needs, and increase high school graduation, college attendance, and college completion.

Sincerely,

Makese Motley
President

Joel Packer
Executive Director

 

HBR Chart March 2016

CEF’s Letter on HR 5 to Congress (Feb. 9)

February 9, 2015  |  1 Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

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CEF Board of Directors - 2015

February 9, 2015

The Honorable John Kline
Chairman
House Education and the Workforce Committee

The Honorable Bobby Scott
Ranking Member
House Education and the Workforce Committee

Dear Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 115 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, writes to express our strong opposition to the authorization levels contained in HR 5, the Student Success Act. While CEF as a coalition is not taking a position on the policy issues in HR 5, we oppose the authorization levels because they would freeze funding in the aggregate for programs authorized in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through the 2021-22 school year.

HR 5 freezes the aggregate ESEA authorization level for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and for each of the succeeding five years at the aggregate FY 2015 appropriated level of $23.30 billion. Not only will this prevent needed investments for critical programs for the next six years, but it cuts funding below the FY 2012 pre-sequester level of $24.11 billion (a cut of 3.36 percent). Doing so locks in over $800 million in cuts to these programs compared to the FY 12 level.

Since the National Center for Education Statistics projects that public school enrollment will increase by more than 2.2 million students in this period and the Congressional Budget Office projects an aggregate increase in the CPI of 14.2 percent between 2015 and 2021, such a freeze would severely erode the purchasing power of these programs and significantly reduce services to students.

When factoring in cuts to ESEA programs that were enacted in FY 2011 and 2012, HR 5 locks in almost $1.7 billion in cuts compared to the FY 2010 appropriated level.

These cuts have come at a time when enrollments have increased, more children are living in poverty and schools and students have endured deep state and local budget cuts.

Instead of making it more difficult to improve overall student achievement, close achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation and college access rates by locking in these drastic cuts, Congress should be investing in our future through education. The need to increase the federal investment in education has never been greater. Jobs and the economy are directly linked to such investments. Both unemployment rates and lifetime earnings are based on levels of education attainment.

We urge you to reject the authorization levels contained in HR 5 and instead raise them to at least the FY 2010 level.

Sincerely,

Noelle Ellerson, President

Joel Packer, Executive Director

FY 15 Labor-HHS-ED CRomnibus Senate

December 15, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

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Click here to download the letter.

December 12, 2014

Dear Senator:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 115 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, is writing to express views on H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.

This bill makes clear the critical need to raise the sequester cap for nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending.  The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 NDD cap froze aggregate funding at last year’s level.  Since the FY 2016 cap is essentially a freeze at this year’s level, it will continue to make it extremely difficult for Congress to provide needed investments in education that will help our country prosper.

While we recognize the very difficult funding constraints the Appropriations Committee was operating under, we are deeply disappointed that the bill cuts aggregate discretionary funding for the Department of Education (ED) by $166 million. Excluding Pell grants, discretionary spending is increased by only 0.3 percent. Indeed, Fiscal Year 2015 ED discretionary spending would be almost $1 billion below the pre-sequester level.

While we appreciate the modest increases provided for such programs as Title I, Striving Readers, IDEA Part B State Grants, English Language Acquisition grants, Federal Work-study, Developing Institutions, and TRIO, many education programs will still be below their pre-sequester levels. Most other programs are frozen, with a few, such as School leadership and the High School Graduation Initiative, subject to additional cuts.

Education funding, though only 2 percent of the federal budget, has been a target of deep cuts since January 2011.  On the discretionary side of the budget, funding for programs exclusive of Pell grants was cut by a total of $3.714 billion between FY 2010 and FY 2013. Included among those cuts was the elimination of more than 50 education programs.

While the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act was a positive step forward in undoing the majority of the FY 2013 sequester cuts, it only restored two-thirds of the cuts in the Department of Education. Indeed, several important programs, including School Improvement Grants, Rural education, Promise Neighborhoods, elementary and secondary school counseling, Indian Education, Teacher Quality Partnerships, Magnet Schools Assistance, IDEA Preschool grants, Graduate assistance, research, development, and dissemination, and the Regional Educational Laboratories will remain frozen at their sequester cut level for the third year.

However, the alternative to passing this bill will be a three-month Continuing Resolution for the Department of Education and the rest of the government.  That would create continued uncertainty for states, schools, students and colleges. This is particularly the case for current-year funded programs like Impact Aid and Head Start. In addition, delaying decisions on final FY 2015 appropriations until March 2015 may well result in additional reductions in funding for education programs. Thus, we recommend that you vote for passage of the bill and on related procedural motions to advance its passage.

When our students succeed, our nation succeeds.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Jones                                   Joel Packer

President                                             Executive Director

 

FY 15 Labor-HHS-ED CRomnibus

December 11, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

Dear Representative:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 115 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, is writing to express views on H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.

This bill makes clear the critical need to raise the sequester cap for nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 NDD cap froze aggregate funding at last year’s level. Since the FY 2016 cap is essentially a freeze at this year’s level, it will continue to make it extremely difficult for Congress to provide needed investments in education that will help our country prosper.

While we recognize the very difficult funding constraints the Appropriations Committee was operating under, we are deeply disappointed that the bill cuts aggregate discretionary funding for the Department of Education (ED) by $166 million. Excluding Pell grants, discretionary spending is increased by only 0.3 percent. Indeed, Fiscal Year 2015 ED discretionary spending would be almost $1 billion below the pre-sequester level.

To view the full letter, please click HERE

 

FY 2015 Omnibus

November 3, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

November 3, 2014

[Chairs and Ranking Members listed in the full PDF]

 

Dear Chairs and Ranking Members:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 115 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, urges you to finalize an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 that provides needed investments in education. An omnibus bill would reflect the important work done by your committees and honor the bipartisan budget agreement reached by the two chambers in 2013. A long term Continuing Resolution (CR) would abdicate Congress’s responsibility to make program-by-program funding decisions and provide necessary guidance to the Administration in implementing programs in FY 2015. In addition, a long-term CR would deny children, students, schools and colleges the opportunity to benefit from the kind of targeted funding increases contained in the bill approved by the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee or proposed in the Labor-HHS-Education bill released by Representative Rosa DeLauro.

To view the full letter, please click here

Dear Representative

April 8, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

April 8, 2014

Dear Representative:
The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 114 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, writes to express our strong opposition to H. Con. Res. 96, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Resolution as reported by the Budget Committee.

This budget would devastate funding for education and make college less affordable by more than doubling the level of cuts required by the sequester starting in FY 2016, freezing the maximum Pell grant for ten years, eliminating over $90 billion in mandatory funding for Pell grants (which will almost certainly result in a substantial cut to the maximum award), increasing student indebtedness by $47 billion by eliminating the in-school interest subsidy for subsidized student loans and restricting income-based repayment, and narrowing eligibility for need-based student aid. It also eliminates all funding for public and school libraries, museums and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

To view the full letter, please click here

Dear Budget Committee Member

April 8, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

April 1, 2014

Dear Budget Committee Member:

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 114 national education associations and institutions representing early learning to postgraduate education, writes to express our strong opposition to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Resolution as introduced by Chairman Ryan.

This budget would devastate funding for education and make college less affordable by more than doubling the level of cuts required by the sequester starting in FY 2016, freezing the maximum Pell grant for ten years, eliminating almost $100 billion in mandatory funding for Pell grants (which will almost certainly result in a substantial cut to the maximum award), increasing student indebtedness by eliminating the in-school interest subsidy for subsidized student loans, and narrowing eligibility for need-based student aid. It also eliminates all funding for public and school libraries, museums and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

To view the full letter, please click here

Dear Representative

December 11, 2013  |  No Comments  |  by Brenda Arredondo  |  Letters to Congress

December 11, 2013

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 111 national education associations and institutions representing preschool to postgraduate education, is writing to express our support for the Senate Amendment (the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2013) to H.J. Res. 59.

 While the BBA is not ideal since it fails to fully replace the remaining eight years of sequester cuts to education and other nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs and only partially replaces the sequester cuts for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, it is a positive step in the right direction.

After three years of budget cuts that moved our nation backward on efforts to improve overall student achievement, close achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation and college access and completion rates, the BBA turns a corner by providing the Appropriations Committee with an allocation sufficient to  restore the overwhelming majority of the cuts in Fiscal Year 2014.

Education programs (exclusive of Pell grants) have already been cut multiple times in the past two and a half years, including $1.5 billion in combined cuts from the FY 2011 CR and the FY 2012 omnibus.  In addition, cuts, restrictions and limitations on interest subsidies for federal student loans and curtailed eligibility for Pell grants resulted in college students contributing $5.6 billion out of their pockets to deficit reduction.

To view the full letter, click here