Senate Panel Approves Funding Boost for Pell Grants and NIH

Lawmakers on the U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees education, health and labor programs approved a budget bill that would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $100, to $5,830, and provide an additional $606 million to the National Institutes of Health in the 2015 fiscal year, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The measure, which now goes to the full Senate appropriations committee, mirrors the president's request for Pell Grants. The bill would keep discretionary funding for the program at the same level as last year, allowing an automatic funding mechanism to kick in that would increase the maximum award.

The legislation would also increase spending on federal Work-Study by $35 million over the 2014 budget and President Obama's plan, and would offer $15 million more for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. It would provide an additional $8.4 million for the TRIO college-prep programs and $3 million more for the Gear Up program. Minority-serving institutions would get $8.7 million more than they did in the 2014 budget, including an additional $3.7 million for historically black colleges and $1.6 million more for Hispanic-serving institutions.

The budget bill passed on a voice vote with Republican opposition. The panel's top Republican, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, said he opposed the measure because it would provide funds for health insurance exchanges under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which he called a failed policy.


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The Chronicle of Higher Education