This week, Congress approved a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that will increase funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant by $70 million–bringing the total to nearly $1.263 billion for next school year (2019-20)! Both the House and Senate approved the funding measure with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it was signed into law before the official beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1. This is the first time in many years that the appropriations bill covering education programs has been signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year without the need for a continuing resolution.
We are very pleased that Congress has provided, for the second year in a row, a significant increase in the federal investment in CTE, and we will work to build on these funding gains going forward. Other highlights for the FY 2019 funding bill include:
- ESSA Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – Increase of $70 million, to $1.17 billion. This program can provide funding to CTE programs, particularly in the areas of college and career guidance services, education technology and STEM education.
- Pell Grants – Increases the maximum Pell grant by $100 to $6,195 for the 2018-19 academic year, with continued support for Year-round Pell.
- Apprenticeship Opportunities – $160 million, an increase of $15 million.
- Adult Education – State grant program increase of $25 million.
Additionally, the bill included language critical of the Department of Education’s proposal to consolidate the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) with the Office of Postsecondary Education into a new Office of Postsecondary and Lifelong Learning. Lawmakers expressed their concerns that the elimination of OCTAE would “undermine the ability of the Department to fulfill not only its mission, but also congressional directives to implement relevant programs and purposes.” ACTE strongly opposes the consolidation plan, and we are working closely with Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairs of the House CTE caucus, to push back on the proposal and highlight the important role of OCTAE in supporting state CTE systems.